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Web designer refused to work for Placer wealth 'guru'

7:35 PM, Nov 9, 2010   |    comments
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Lee Loomis

News10 Exclusive - The former Placer County wealth advisor believed to be at the center of a $100 million real estate Ponzi scheme has resurfaced in Indianapolis.

Lawrence Leland "Lee" Loomis, 54, appears to be the driving force behind several real estate investment companies recently established in Indiana, according to the owner of a website design firm who met with Loomis last Friday.

"He claimed he was coming here because it's a prime market to flip homes," explained Will Hardison of Mediaplug, based in suburban Indianapolis. 

Hardison said Loomis offered to pay $12,000 for website and logo design work for Eagle Point Capital, Sierra Asset Partners and Welcome Home Indy, along with a credit repair company.

Hardison became suspicious because Loomis appeared to be in a big hurry. 

"He wanted two of the websites finished by the end of this week so he could start listing properties," Hardison said.

Over the weekend, Hardison ran a Google search of Loomis' name and discovered extensive coverage by News10 of the fraud investigation underway in Northern California.

On Monday, Hardison let Loomis know he was no longer interested in his business, even though it would have been the second-largest job his fledgling design firm had ever undertaken.

"If it's money that people have been scammed out of, I don't want it," Hardison said.

Federal agents believe Loomis is the mastermind behind a massive, multi-state real estate investment scheme that he ran out of a suite of offices in Roseville.

A separate civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges more than 100 investors in California, Washington and Illinois were swindled out of at least $10 million in cash in a different investment scam.

In 2008, federal agents raided Loomis' offices and his Granite Bay home and seized bank accounts worth nearly a half-million dollars. Loomis later told investors in a conference call monitored by News10 that the raids effectively put him out of business.

Hardison said last week's meeting with Loomis was arranged by a woman named Dawn Powers, who was a close Loomis associate in Roseville and now lives in Chicago.

Contacted by telephone, Powers insisted she was acting as a consultant in Indianapolis and was no longer involved in any direct business dealings with Loomis. 

"I'm just an out-of-work mom trying to help somebody," Powers said.

A woman who answered the phone at Eagle Point Capital said Loomis was unavailable.

Hardison said Loomis explained that one of the companies, Welcome Home Indy, was a non-profit aimed at putting low-and moderate-income families in rehabbed homes. Loomis said he had the backing of the Indianapolis mayor, according to Hardison.

Paula Freund, the press secretary for Mayor Gregory Ballard, said she had never heard of Welcome Home Indy and was going to refer the matter to the department of public safety, the city's law enforcement agency.

A Sacramento-area investor who lost $350,000 to Loomis reacted to an email from News10 alerting her to Loomis' new ventures. She expressed outrage that the investigation into Loomis' activities in Northern California had lasted more than two years with no resolution.

"The investigators have consistenly told us that the investigation is active and is taking so long because it is so big. We have been graciously patient with them, but if they have allowed Lee Loomis to fly under their radar and set up shop in another state to take advantage of another group of unsuspecting folks, shame on them," she wrote.

Although so far there's no evidence of wrongdoing in Indiana, federal authorities contacted by News10 were interested in learning more about Loomis' new companies.

Sacramento Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Carlberg said he could not discuss a possible timetable for an indictment, but he insisted work is being done on the Loomis case every day. 

"The investigation is active and ongoing and justice will be done," said Carlberg.

By George Warren, GWarren@news10.net

News10/KXTV

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