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Santa Cruz Woman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 12, 2013
  • Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

SAN JOSE, CA—Tara Denise Bonelli today pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose to wire fraud, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. In pleading guilty, Bonelli admitted to promoting false and fraudulent real estate investments by knowingly making false promises about how investor funds were to be invested and repaid. Among other inducements, Bonelli promised investors that their funds would be used to purchase foreclosed and distressed properties for resale, when in reality she used those funds for personal expenses.

Bonelli, 33 of Santa Cruz, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 16, 2011. She was charged with 18 counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 United States Code § 1343. Under the plea agreement, Bonelli pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud that included the total charged loss of more than $3 million.

The sentencing of Bonelli is scheduled for June 25, 2013, at 9 a.m. before United States District Court Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 United States Code § 1343, is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Matt Parrella and Susan Knight are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter. The prosecution is the result of a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.


David Saks

Time&Temp Memphis

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Comment balloon 4 commentsDavid Saks • February 13 2013 10:17AM


One more bad apple off the street David, kudos to the investigators and prosecutors.

Posted by Al Raymondi, Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales (Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida) over 7 years ago

Lot's of this going on, Al, tragically.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 7 years ago

I have often said that there are more Realtors in jail than independent real estate agents. My basis is without hard research and simply noting incidents like this. 

Part of what influences that, in my opinion, is the emphasis on "duties to other Realtors" which can subject Realtor practioners to arbitration or grievance hearings that can be influenced by the politics of a board. Independent agents usually focus more on the State licensing laws that are more specific to professional behavior related to care for the public.

We certainly could not claim that the reason more Realtors have legal issues is because they are the larger numbers. In fact it is somewhere in the range of 60% independent and 40% Realtor that make up the real estate agent population.

Someone should do a little research and share this statistic. Then take whatever that number is and see if it is a statiscal reflection of other trade groups / population / insurance sales people; or if there is a serious issue in the Realtor population. Strange that the code of ethics does not have a greater influence.

Posted by Larry Mayall over 7 years ago

Agreed and well said, Larry.

Why should the state's laws have any less of an impact on the professional behavior of a real estate practitioner than the Realtor code ?

If Realtors are in the business of manufacturing legislation to suit they're own specific needs, prejudicial politics tending to favour their preconceived ideas skew the decision making process.

That disappointing action, in turn, will favor some characteristic property that defines the apparent individual nature of their purpose, which includes the inherent complexity of attributes that determine their moral and ethical actions and reactions

It's a privilege to hear from you.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 7 years ago

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