This article was originally published June 29 and updated June 29, 2:33 p.m. It also stated that Jill Silvey was 40, but after checking court documents was adjusted to the correct age.
A former Campbell real estate agent was arrested June 27 in her San Jose home on charges she defrauded 13 people out of $1.2 million, Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Paul Colin said.
Jill Silvey, 51, was booked into Santa Clara County Jail and charged with 44 counts of loan fraud, which authorities said took place between 2005 and 2011. She had recently worked for Stevensen & Neal Realtors on 116 E. Campbell Ave. but was dismissed after just a few months and did not conduct any transactions while there, said owner and broker Mark Stevensen.
Silvey remained in jail Friday unable to make her $3 million bail.
"We learned over the course of the last seven years, she has created at least 14 fraudulent loans," Colin said. "She found people that had money to invest and would tell them that she had homeowners that needed to borrow money for a short period of time."
According to Colin, all the transactions were fictitious.
"She forged the names of the supposed borrowers to create fake loan documents and deeds to convince the investors that their money was secured by an interest in each fictitious borrower's real estate," he said. "Each loan was supposedly for a short-term, ranging from 18 months to five years. The investor was supposed to receive interest-only payments each month with the principal paid at the end of the loan period."
Several of the victims are at least 65 years of age, so several elder fraud counts are also included, he said.
"She was taking one person’s money and delivering it to another," Colin said. "It's what we call a Ponzi Scheme. There’s no real investment."
The 44 counts represent 14 different fraudulent loans in which 13 people are out $1.2 million and another 14 people had their names fraudulently used on forged documents, Colin said.
The victims would pay from $35,000 to as much as several hundred thousand dollars over the course of a couple of years, he said.
"Jill would promise that they'd get their $100,000 back and earn 5 or 6 percent a year and [she said] it's secured because your money is protected by the value of real estate," Colin said.
The victims include one couple who had five loans with Silvey and two notary publics whose names were fraudulently used, he said.
"Because of the amount of the money taken and the amount of loans taken, we have asked the court for high bail, set at $3 million dollars," Colin said. "I also have evidence that money used to pay other victims was 'dirty.'"
He said this means money paid to some victims were taken from others.
Colin said because Silvey has filed for bankruptcy and there's "no legitimate source of income," he has asked the court to allow him to examine the other sources of bail that may be available to her.
"This all took place over seven years and we've received four more complaints that we are following up," he said. "Our evidence shows that her alleged criminal acts were done by her alone."
If convicted, Silvey faces up to 31 years in prison. She is due back in Santa Clara County Court Department 23 on July 2 at 2 p.m.
D.A. Investigator Jodi Thomas is investigating the case. Anyone with information is invited to contact Thomas at 408-792-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.