David R. Sparks, Smooth-Talking GOP Liar and Real Estate Broker, Convicted of $4.3 Million Ponzi Scheme

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Sparks
David R. Sparks lavished the Republican Party and GOP candidates with thousands of dollars over the years. He was so well liked that when ultimate party insider Adam Probolsky was removed amid controversy from the Irvine Planning Commission, Probolsky praised his chosen replacement, Sparks, who's been described as a Christian family man with a soothing, Mr. Rogers-like voice.

Today was not a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Sparks, however, as he became known as something else: a convicted felon.

The Orange County Register's Brian Martinez, who has been tracking the Sparks saga since March, reports today that documents filed this week at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana show 50-year-old Sparks signed a deal with the U.S. Attorney confessing to having claimed to investors that he bought, rehabbed and sold foreclosed homes he never actually purchased.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Sparks copped to felony interstate wire fraud, and the U.S. Attorney will ask the judge for a sentence on the lower end of the 20-year maximum term in the federal pen for that crime. The judge is under no obligation to impose a shorter sentence, however. Sparks has also agreed to pay $4.3 million in restitution.

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Irvine City Councilman Steven Choi chose David R. Sparks for the Planning Commission because of real estate broker's GOP bonafides.
The president of Sparks Realty & Investment Inc. in Irvine, Wellington Grant Ltd. of Nevada and several other companies, Sparks made an investment bet in 2005 that property in Utah and California would increase dramatically in value, buying 35 properties with about $7 million of his own money and contributions from investors.

But by 2007, rents from the properties could not support the debt, so Sparks sought cash from more investors. He lied to them that they were investing in new properties, but he was actually using the funds to cover his old debts. Sparks tried to cover his tracks by forging bank documents, using non-existent escrow companies, providing phony status updates and falsely reporting profits. When investors tried to pull their money out of what was actually a Ponzi scheme, Sparks came up with lies to explain why he could not cash them out.

Martinez reports that the plea deal Sparks signed had him admitting to having taken in about $4.8 million under the false pretenses, spending about $500,000 on "lulling payments" to the investors and about $4.3 million on his debt. Despite the restitution and government-ordered liquidation of Sparks' assets, he still faces civil lawsuits from those investors. Two have already been filed.

Irvine City Councilman Steven Choi, explaining he wanted to shake up the Planning Commission, removed Probolsky and appointed Sparks as his replacement in December 2008. Choi tells Martinez he first met Sparks through the councilman's learning center business. Choi was impressed by Sparks' Orange County GOP bonafides. Recent election records show Sparks contributed to the 2010 campaigns of GOP assemblymen Don Wagner of Irvine and Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa.

The FBI began investigating Sparks in late January. Sparks resigned from the Planning Commission the following month, telling Choi it was due to personal business matters.

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10 comments
Twodogranch
Twodogranch

Dave was my Realtor from about 2000 to 2002.  I bought and sold several properties through him.  I only knew him on a business level even though he went to High School with people I knew. He did a good job. Sometimes things happen and we don't understand it. 

tararat
tararat

It's actually a Ponzi scheme when investors take their money, then Sparks came up with lies to explain why people couldn't redeem their money. | Salt Lake City Realtor

martinez hister
martinez hister

When investors tried to take their money which was actually a Ponzi scheme, Sparks came up with lies to explain why he could not redeem them.

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Leonard Wayne
Leonard Wayne

David R. Sparks lavished the sluts too,just received photos from daves old cell photos? Yes,Dave you have many problems yet to come when your wife see the nude photos of you and your friends......Christian Republican?

Trickybar
Trickybar

A lot of people, especially Christians, don't consider Mormons to be Christian.

Djs4090
Djs4090

Why are we now attacking this guys religion? Are you saying that he stole these people's money because he was a Mormon? I know several Mormons and they are honest and caring people. People are people, it doesn't matter what religion they are or even if they are atheists. I find it odd that there are still people in this world that will attack a religion that gives Millions to the poor and is so eager to help when people need help! The Media seems to enjoy printing that a thief is this religion or that religion. How often is it printed that this evil person is not a member of any religion?? Mr. Sparks has done some evil things! He should pay for his actions! We should feel bad for the people he stole from. I am sure that many of them are "Mormon", which I imagine pleases someone like you "Trickybar"! I am just glad Sparks isn't a Baptist, then you would be saying that I am not a Christian!

Fat
Fat

 "Only good thing you can say about this sleazeball is he wasn't molesting little boys."

Says who? 

Skype Ishype
Skype Ishype

Don't tell me you are a Christian, show me! David Sparks did. Lol

dan
dan

Christian Republican is the term for hypocritical thief.  Only good thing you can say about this sleazeball is he wasn't molesting little boys.

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