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Bail set at $400K for Spencer on charges of grand theft in real estate fraud

October 08, 2003
Santa Paula Police Department

There are scams and then there are scams and a Santa Paula businessman found himself the victim of a major scam by another city resident that cost him about $600,000 in cash and assets.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThere are scams and then there are scams and a Santa Paula businessman found himself the victim of a major scam by another city resident that cost him about $600,000 in cash and assets.Anthony Spencer, 42, also known as Anthony Novarro, was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 3rd outside his business - Global Surplus Recovery Inc. - in the 1500 block of Telegraph Road. Spencer was arrested for suspicion of grand theft, forgery and possession of cocaine, according to SPPD Det. Sgt. Steve Carter.Other law enforcement agencies standing in line are Las Vegas, where Spencer is wanted in connection for workers’ compensation fraud and Alhambra, where he is wanted in connection with fraud charges.The father of three drove a Hummer, BMW SUV or Mercedes and lived in on the 200 block of Corte Linda in the upscale Las Pasadas development on the west side of Santa Paula.According to Det. Sgt. Carter, the 83-year-old victim notified the SPPD on September 23rd and “said that he was a victim of a real estate fraud. . .”Although the victim had known Spencer about two years, it was about six months ago that they ran into each on Mountain View golf course and the victim told Spencer about a farm that he had tried to purchase, said Det. Sgt. Carter.
Spencer said he knew the owners and could arrange a sale by proxy using the businessman’s funds.The farm was no longer on the market and Spencer did not know the owners but he told the victim that he was arranging the purchase of the property.As soon as the businessman started writing checks - some as large as $100,000 - Spencer started stalling him with stories about environmental concerns and a dispute with the property owners that he said led to his own arrest. Spencer claimed that he had filed a lawsuit to force the property sale.In the interim, the victim loaned Spencer valuable antiques, golf carts and a tractor as collateral toward the escrow account; it was when his friends started calling him and telling him that Spencer was selling the items that the victim notified police.Spencer cashed checks totaling about $360,000 at the victim’s Santa Paula bank before his arrest and is being held at Ventura County Jail on a $400,000 bail.Spencer pleaded no contest to grand theft, embezzlement, and petty theft in 1998 and about two years ago was sent to jail for selling $70,000 worth of ovens to a Los Angeles based company under false pretenses.