In February 2009, Sacramento-area mortgage broker Christopher Jared Warren was caught trying to cross from Canada into the United States with 4 ounces of platinum and $70,000 hidden in his shoes.
The arrest made nationwide news, and Warren became yet another face of greed and alleged criminality in the mortgage finance business.
You'd never know that, however, if you were to check with the California Department of Real Estate. Warren, whose fraud trial is ongoing, is still a licensed broker and has no disciplinary action on his record with the department, which promotes its online licensing database as a tool for consumers to make sure they're dealing with reputable professionals.
This is not an isolated case. The Bee found dozens of real estate professionals – people who have been charged with real estate-related crimes or sued by the state for fraud- related misdeeds, or who have pleaded guilty to such wrongdoing – who are still licensed and have no notations, flags or disciplinary sanctions listed on their records with the Department of Real Estate. This means they are authorized
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