Part one of a two-part series. Read part two.
Friday, April 10, 2009 | Jim McConville arrived an hour late to the gathering in Vicki Jenkins’ Capistrano Beach living room. When he finally walked through the door, a driver and two employees in tow, he didn’t look like the real estate mogul the crowd expected.
In his late 50s, McConville wore boots, jeans and a casual shirt. His salt-and-pepper hair hung in a ponytail and he sported a Fu Manchu mustache, a look more aging rocker than businessman. But when the charismatic investor from the Bay Area introduced his plan, the living room hushed.
He’d come that evening in January 2008 to court partners for a massive real estate purchase. They needn’t invest any of their own money — just allow their good credit and identities to be used to obtain mortgages. McConville told the crowd that he wanted to buy more properties than the bank would allow him to, and he needed help. He promised to make the mortgage payments and to pay the partners $10,000 for each property bought in their names.
Jenkins, a 63-year-old retired businesswoman, had met McConville a few weeks earlier and liked the sound of his proposition so much she invited him down to Orange County to pitch her friends, too. McConville netted three new recruits that night, Jenkins included.
Over the next several months, McConville’s team arranged for Jenkins to obtain five mortgages. The loans were used to purchase five condos in Escondido in March and April last year, four for $337,000 and one for $370,000, while other similar units in the same complex were listed or sold for much less.