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Real estate mogul Ezri Namvar surrenders to federal authorities

September 27, 2010 | 11:11 am

High-profile commercial real estate investor Ezri Namvar, indicted last week on criminal fraud charges, surrendered Monday morning to federal authorities, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Namvar was scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon in federal court in Los Angeles, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

A grand jury indicted Namvar last week on charges that he stole $23 million from clients of his company, Namco Financial Exchange Corp., which safeguarded proceeds from commercial real estate transactions.

The indictment alleged that Namvar misappropriated the money in 2008, using it to pay investors and creditors from a real estate investment company he ran. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 100 years in prison.

Also charged in the indictment was Hamid Tabatabai, who served as controller and vice president of Namco Financial. He pleaded not guilty to the charges last week.

Namvar, a 59-year-old Iranian immigrant, was one of the biggest success stories of the real estate boom before the market crashed in 2008, amassing high-profile holdings that included the Marriott hotel in downtown Los Angeles and the Cal Neva resort at Lake Tahoe.

Namvar's good fortune ran out in 2008, when angry investors accused him of squandering their money and attempting to hide devastating losses. Creditors of Namco Capital Group placed claims of nearly $525 million in Bankruptcy Court.

-- Stuart Pfeifer