Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Verdict Is In

For weeks now Your Mama has been getting all kinds of calls and queries about the trial(s) of big-time Beverly Hills real estate agents to the stars Joe Babajian and Kyle Grasso who were indicted last year on of a myriad of crimes including money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud.

Well puppies, the verdicts are in and Your Mama can hear the gasps and the sighs of relief all up and down N. Cañon Drive in Beverly Hills.

Mister Babajian, was acquitted on 13 criminal counts and mistrials were declared on 8 additional counts about which the jury was able to reach a verdict. Mister Babajian was represented by grey maned attorney Thomas Mesereau who y'all will recall also successfully defended Michael Jackson in his lurid child molestation trial in 2005 .

Mister Grasso, on the other hand, was not so lucky. Along with appraiser Lila Rizk of Trabuco Canyon, CA (in Orange County), Mister Grasso was convicted of conspiracy and bank and loan fraud. Mister Grasso was also convicted on three counts of money laundering.

Eight others who participated in the scheme previously pleaded guilty to felony fraud charges resulting in a 14-year sentence in a federal clink for one of them. The other 7 await sentencing as do Miz Rizk and Mister Grasso who are scheduled to be sentenced on January 29, 2010. According to the L.A. Times, Mister Grasso faces maximum sentences that add up to a staggering 515 years. He will be appealing.

Mister Grasso, ol' Joebabs and the 9 others were accused of defrauding mortgage lenders out of $40,000,000 (or so) by using straw buyers to flip properties in prime Westside neighborhoods at falsely inflated prices and fabricating fake documents that allowed them to obtain mortgages for hundreds of thousand more that the actual sale price of the home. The illegally obtained loans were then defaulted on and the lender(s) were left holding properties worth considerably less than the purchase prices while the participants walked off with millions.

In addition to a client list that includes Barbra Streisand and Warren Beatty, the children may recall that it was Mister Babajian who listed the $18,200,000 spread bought by soccer stud David Beckham and his wisp of a wife Victoria on San Ysidro Drive in Beverly Hills

36 comments:

Chris said...

Did Grasso have the same atty as Babajian? Often a jury simply votes on the likeability of the atty. That was prolly why that atty who lives in Wyoming and wears cowboy attire could get lots of people off. He revealed as much when he said that he changed his courtroom manner when a juror (after he had lost the case) came to him and said "why did you make us dislike you so much"?

Anonymous said...

Mama, Laud have mercy, Gurl! Nobody cares about this! The chil'en need our real estate "porn" fix!

Anonymous said...

Joe threw Kyle under the bus and said he didn't know what was going on. Of course he did - he just had a better attorney.
But where was their manager in all this? Arent' they supposed to always know what's going on?

Anonymous said...

This kind of thing is just what I would expect disgusting nouveau riche Beverly Hills real estate people to do. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

Joe is a liar and a man of broken promises. Don't ever trust him. He let his business partner and supposed best friend of 25 years take the fall when they did everything together and knew everything as partners do. He promised to pay for Kyle's atty and backed out and then Kyle was left with a public defender. He should be ashamed.

angeleyes said...

Dayum Mama.. Atty. Thomas Mesereau is worth his weight in gold. He is GOOD, but I have a feeling that despite his talent, he only represents people he believes are actually innocent. In MJ's case, I had my doubts in the beginning, serious ones, but after his accuser's mother took the stand, it became undeniably obvious that something other than the abuse alligations was going on there. Mesereau achieved the same outcome for Mister Babajian. Too sweepingly similiar in it's scope and magnitude to be mere lucky coincidence. As for Mister Grasso, a maximum 515 years! OMG, that must be some kind of record, but you commit the crime, you do the time as the saying goes. Still, it's astonishing and I'd hate to be him.

Thanks so much for the update, and btw, my Word Verification term today is "flesh". Kinky, lol.

Gigi said...

I think what we have here amongst many of the High End Real Estate Agents is a whole-lot- of jealousy.
Joe Babajian has the most impeccable reputation of almost anyone in this industry and has had this reputation for over twenty five years. I have dealt with Joe personally and he was a true gentleman and an absolute professional all the way. He treats his friends with respect and loyalty and I have seen him go out of his way to help those who are less fortunate on more than one occasion. I am so glad I do not live in Beverly Hills. You can be a nasty lot of people and even when someone is vindicated you still want to drag them through the mud. Joe Babajian is standing strong and true because he is a just man and an intelligent real estate agent who has always played by the rules. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

If Joe is such a beacon of integrity, why did he betray his partner, Kyle? I find it highly implausible this was a one-sided deal. You'll never convince me Kyle was the only one involved in these frauds. The jury came back 7 to 5 on 13 counts - hardly a convincing vindication. Eight additional counts were dead locked.
Yes - we will move on. But without Kyle. Joe was the only one who could afford a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card

Gigi said...

I think we could all benefit from cultivating a more quiet mind. MIndful compassion.
Holding on to such a rigid mindset limits experiences to life. We only see clearly when we see without judgement. May we all live in the light with prayer, meditation, breath and calmness.
Impeccable spotless awareness. Each moment we are alive is a gem shining. We all have a choice to send as to what we send out into the world. Why not send out Love and Compassion. The most fertile soil in the world is found in the human mind. Whatever we give the greatest attention to is what will grow fastest and most abundant.

stealth said...

I personally think the entire thing was a witch hunt brought on by the Fitzgerald defendent attempting to get a better deal for himself. I do not think Kyle is guilty and I hope he can appeal his case and be found not guilty. I have known Joe over the last couple of decades and have found him to be one of the most honest and ethical men I know. When the 8 outstanding charges are dropped, maybe then some of you will understand that Joe is innocent. It seems that some of you are spewing so much hate and venom that you must be jealous of him.

Ed said...

Well that's just lovely Gigi, but people still commit crimes and behave immorally and unethically and guilty is still guilty. So you go on with your meditating and breathing and lack of judgment which is lovely but I don't believe for a minute you don't judge people. In fact your call for "cultivating a quiet mind" is in itself a judgment since you're basically saying that to do otherwise is somehow wrong or, at least, unhealthy.

You pray for impeccable spotless awareness (where do you get that language?)and I'll keep my eyes peeled for criminals and other nefarious characters.

Anonymous said...

Ed...gigi gets that newfangled fluff talk from rehashed est and lifespring seminars.

Must not be closing many deals these days and is desparately chasing a "quiet mind" through bullshit feel good seminars.

Just wait until the facade falls...then it'll be prozac time.

Anonymous said...

I had a buddy that always said if you steal, steal at least $2 million.
A million to keep and a million to pay an attorney to get off.
I guess Mr. Babjian took that advice to heart.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you must be the one with the history of the "feel good seminars" or you would not be specifically mentioning Est or Lifesprings. I think Gigi was only trying to bring some positive energy to the forum.

And for the Anonymous who stated that Joe was a liar and a man of broken promises, you are wrong. First, he and Kyle have not been so called partners for 25 years, more like 12. Joe was established as one of the best in his field long before Kyle came on the scene.
As I earlier state, Joe and Kyle are innocent and I only hope that Kyle can appeal his case and the truth will set him free. I do not know Lila or anything about her but I surmise she was railroaded as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with angeleyes in regards to Mesereau only taking clients he believes are not guilty. But I do not believe that Grasso or the other defendent are guilty just because the jury came to that conclusion. How many innocent people are sitting in America's prisons today? Too many of us are too quick to jump on the bandwagon and to jump to conclusions.

T.L. said...

I know all you real estate agents want to believe that Grasso was convicted because he had a bad lawyer or that Lila was "railroaded" and that the fact that Joe was acquitted of some of the charges and mistrials declared in other means he's innocent. Because real estate agents, mortgage brokers and appraisers are such an honorable bunch.

Chances are, the 8 counts that were declared mistrials for Joe will be tried again. Mistrial does not mean innocent, it means the jury was split on the verdict and could not come to a conclusion.

Anon. above...you're right, there are a lot of innocent people in jail, but there are a lot more guilty people walking around free because they had really good lawyers.

Also, and here's the big one that no one seems to get...there were 8 other people besides Joe, Kyle and Lila who were identified as part of the scheme...and they ALL pled guilty. So if they pled guilty, because they ARE GUILTY, and kyle and lila were convicted, how is it the one other person who was fingered had nothing to do with it?

I was not at the trial so I don't know what evidence was presented, I don't know Joe and have no ax to grind against him but I have read the indictment...every word of it. Mesereau is good.

Anonymous said...

I agree with GIGI! Peace and love is the only way to live. Let Ed and the rest of the criminals live a dirty life full of intimidation and fear and backstabbing.
OMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Anonymous said...

I am not familiar with Beverly Hills real estate agents or properties as I do not live anywhere near the area. But I do have first hand knowledge of the federal governement prosecuting and getting guilty verdicts on cases involving innocent people. Don't be so quick to conclude that the people in this case who pleaded not guilty are guilty.

Anonymous said...

From my vantage point, far too many people want Joe Babs to go down. I don't get it...is he so adept and so on top of the heap that others wish him ill will?

T.L. said...

you said:

"Don't be so quick to conclude that the people in this case who pleaded not guilty are guilty."

Fair enough.

But, eight of the others involved in this fraud PLEADED GUILTY. That pretty much makes them guilty, right?

angeleyes said...

T.L., you make some very valid points, and I agree about cases such as this where short of having scientific forensic evidence, jurors are forced to use deductive reasoning to draw a reasonable conclusion regarding who was involved and to what degree, bearing in mind they are instructed to base their decision on whether or not the state has substantiated it's case beyond a reasonable doubt.

That said, at times defendants also use deductive reasoning to reach a decision about how best to proceed - including the possibility of accepting a plea agreement in lieu of waging a legal battle that would wipe them out and leave their families destitute without them in the event their defense was unsuccessful. Guilt by association is a tough hurdle to overcome in the minds of jurors, guilty or not.

Anonymous said...

Anonypuss 5:21

Gigi uses the same lingo that seminars use.

I am familiar with EST, Lifespring and Synanon from the early 80's.

I woke up and realized it for the bullshit that it is.

It's not positivity, it is programmed delusion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments by angeleyes. Guilt by association is a very difficult hurdle to overcome in the minds of the jurors.

As for Anonypuss, perhaps you are the one with the programmed delusions since you seem to know the names of the seminars and lingo.

Anonymous said...

Just like O.J., Joe had the right attorney. Guess he will be back selling again for Round 2.....

Anonymous said...

Welcome Back Joe B.......When do you open your office?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Anonymous post on August 12th @ 12:48 PM.

Welcome back, Joe!

Anonymous said...

The rumor mill is already swirling. I have heard that he is going to Hilton & Hyland to partner with Drew Fenton. We'll see if the rumor is true.

Anonymous said...

I beleive Joe is innocent. I have been his client since 1983 and he has been nothing but professional, honest and ethical. He is a good man.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's welcome Joe back. Too bad we can't do the same for Kyle. Oh, that's right, Joe pointed the finger at his partner and said Kyle was completely at fault, and he, Joe, knew nothing about what happened. So Kyle faces over 500 years in prison for what happened while they were partners. Kyle will be sitting in prison while Joe dines on Canon Drive, pretending that nothing happened. Joe didn't have any problem taking the profits from the actions in question. I'm sure he won't lose a nights sleep over what he did to Kyle.

Anonymous said...

T.L. said "I read the indictment." Well, until you read the transcripts of the trial and hear the actual evidence or lack of evidence, I do no think you have a valid argument. I have heard that there was no evidence against Joe B probably because he did not have any involvement. I have not read the transcripts either and will hold further comments until I have more valid information.

T.L. said...

Fair enough. I have not read the transcripts and that's certainly what the verdicts were based on.

But perhaps in your noble eagerness to clear Joe's name you're forgetting that there were 8 counts over which the jury could not agree which resulted in mistrials. A mistrial is by no means a declaration of innocence by the jury. It's also not a declaration of guilt, of course.

However, one report said the jury was split 7(to convict)and 5 (to acquit) on at least on of the counts that was declared a mistrial which would indicate that more than half of the jurors thought that there was enough evidence of his involvement to convict him.

Anonymous said...

This is for Anonymous who posted @ 6:32 AM. You seem to be filled with hatred for Babajian and under some illusion that he "fingered" Grasso. Are you harboring some deep seated hate from a personal failure of your own? Like the earlier post stated, we should read the trial transcripts before we make such statements. I rather doubt that Babajian turned on Grasso or anyone else. The truth will set you free and I think Grasso will win his appeal.

Anonymous said...

Joe never turned on Kyle. Unfortunately the jury convicted Kyle. I've worked with both of them over the past decade. They have both been nothing but upfront and honest in all of my dealings with them. Congrats to Joe and I hope Kyle wins his appeal. To all that are writting these negative comments about the two of them I ask you, have you ever dealt with them. I'm assuming that the answer is no. Stop being such haters

Anonymous said...

I just returned home from being out of the country on vacation and have to say that I am elated that Joe was found not guilty. If anyone knows Joe, they know he would never jepordize his career or reputation in a criminal manner. I feel very bad for Kyle and hope he can appeal these horrendous charges and gain back his reputation and freedom. Joe and Kyle should have never been implicated in the criminal dealings of Fitzgerald, et al. They were certainly used as pawns.

Anonymous said...

The federal government has unlimited resources and man power. Once they have you in their sights, you are hard pressed to defeat them regardless of your innocence. For those of you so quick to jump on the guilt bandwagon or for that one who seems to have a love for Grasso and a hate for Babajian, try to imagine yourself aginst the United States government. Anyone who can beat them on as many counts as Babajian did, must be innocent. And just because Grasso was not as fortunate, does not mean that he was guilty.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that so many people have so much jealousy for my brother Joe, who is the greatest real estate agent of all time.
Joe is a lot like President Obama who did not have anything handed to him, and made it to the top all on his own with hard work.
My brother Joe has good values, and is well educated. He could have gone to medical school since he had the grades although he choose a carreer in real estate.