November 14, 2014
Reno, NV –Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto on
Friday announced a Las Vegas man pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud in a case
involving defrauding several Northern Nevadans together of more than $238,000
through elaborate schemes that included bogus real estate deals with a
fictitious wealthy sheikh and investments in a luxury downtown Reno high rise.
George Christo George, 55, on Thursday pleaded guilty in Washoe District
Court to felony mortgage fraud related to defrauding seven Northern Nevadans
between July 2011 and May 2012. George, who also resided in the Los Angeles
area, faces up to 20 years in prison, a $50,000 fine and an order to pay
restitution. Washoe District Judge Connie Steinheimer scheduled a January 26,
This case highlights how mortgage fraud criminals use deception and
misrepresentation to steal from innocent victims who are simply trying to obtain
an affordable mortgage in these hard economic times,” Masto said. “My office
will continue to hold these criminals responsible for the horrific aftermath
their frauds have left and to prosecute them to the fullest.”
George was arrested in Las Vegas in August 2013 on the attorney general’s
warrant. He was later transported to the Washoe County Jail where he has
remained in lieu of $380,000 bail. An immigration hold was also placed on him.
AG Investigators said George targeted casino workers and their family and
friends so that he could fund his lifestyle as a “high roller” throughout
casinos across Nevada and in California. Some of the victims believed George was
going to help them lower their mortgage bills that had become no longer
affordable, while others were duped in real estate investment schemes.
Many of the victims were charmed by George’s high status as a well-known
local gambler and his self-proclaimed personal ties to the banking and financial
industry. The fraud depleted the savings of all of the victims that included a
single mother, business owner, a disabled man and a recent widower.
Senior Deputy Attorney Generals Ronda Clifton and John McGlamery prosecuted
here to read the affidavit of probable cause.
Home Again: Nevada Homeowner Relief Program
The AG’s office encourages Nevadans who are planning to buy their first home,
seeking credit restoration, and/or looking to modify their home loan to contact
the Home Again: Nevada Homeowner Relief Program. Home Again Nevada, initiated by
General Masto, is a program that makes it easier for Nevadans to determine what
state or federal assistance may be available to them with a single “one-stop”
free resource. Homeowners in need of assistance should contact at
1-855-HLP-4-NEV (1-855-457-4638) or homeagainnevada.gov.
(Photo courtesy of Washoe County Sheriff’s Office)