In an inventive, but highly illegal, plan to pay off a mortgage he couldn’t afford, former Sacramento real estate agent Lawrence Grzelak could face nearly five years in prison if convicted of securities fraud.
Authorities arrested Grzelak on Monday after discovering that he took more than $76,000 from a Martinez, CA family in an investment scheme.
Prosecutors said Grezelak had purchased a condominium in Maui in 2006 but had fallen behind in the payments by 2010. Seeking a way to pay down his mortgage, Grzelak’s convinced potential homebuyers to buy into a nonexistent securities fund. He managed to get $80,988 from the victims after promising them that their investment would double within a month. Instead, he sent a check for $76,000 to American Savings Bank to pay his mortgage.
Grzelak has been charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of grand theft by embezzlement, with one enhancement for an excessive loss, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.