The three are scheduled for a continued arraignment Feb. 22, Emami said.
James Eaton was arrested Dec. 15 by the Laguna Beach Police Department while driving near his home. Brian Eaton turned himself in to Laguna police Dec. 18.
Both have been released on $100,000 bond.
According to the district attorney’s office, between June 2005 and August 2007, James Eaton owned and operated an Irvine real estate appraisal firm, Landmark Equities Group that performed appraisals on residential properties. Brian Eaton was president, and Bell was an executive in the firm.
Landmark allegedly worked with Quick Loan Funding, a sub-prime mortgage company as their primary lender, according to the district attorney’s office.
The Eatons and Bell are accused of conspiring to fraudulently inflate appraisal values of properties in California, Arizona and Nevada to make loans on those properties more attractive to lenders and investors.
Landmark opened branch offices in Dublin, Calif., Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Ariz., and also had an office space at Quick Loan Funding in Costa Mesa to facilitate loan officer input in the appraisal process, prosecutors allege.
The company officials are suspected of changing appraisals on documents through the use of employees’ passwords and electronic signatures, and removing negative property comments to increase the appraised value.
In one instance, they allegedly used an office manager’s electronic signature to overstate an appraisal without her knowledge.
The employee was allegedly fired after she refused to supply passwords for herself and employees to James Eaton.
The district attorney’s office is continuing to investigate the case with the Office of Real Estate Appraisers.
Anyone with more information may contact Supervising District Atty. Investigator Ron Frazier at (714) 347-8691.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of real estate fraud may download and fill out a complaint form at www.orangecountyda.com.