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Move over Madoff, L.A. gets its own indicted philanthropist

by Adam Wills

March 5, 2009 | 6:06 pm

Bruce Friedman

Sherman Oaks-based mortgage banker Bruce Friedman, whose Friedman Charitable Foundation committed $10 million to the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles and $1 million to Brandon’s Village, a special-needs park in Calabasas, was indicted on securities fraud charges today by the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The SEC alleges Freidman, along with his two companies—Diversified Lending Group (DLG) and Applied Equities, Inc. (AEI)—perpetrated a $216 million real estate investment fraud, raising money from hundreds of investors nationwide, many of whom are seniors, promising guaranteed high returns via real estate investments.

The complaint alleges that Friedman diverted substantial investor money to ventures unrelated to real estate, and misappropriated at least $17 million to support his lavish lifestyle, including purchases of a luxury home, cars, vacations, jewelry, and designer clothing for himself and an alleged girlfriend.

The SEC has frozen DLG’s, AEI’s and Friedman’s assets.

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