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EX-CEO HIT WITH FEDERAL INDICTMENT ROSTAMI FACES OTHER CHARGES.

Byline: Jason Takenouchi Staff Writer

WOODLAND HILLS - U.S. law enforcement officials have filed 11 federal charges against Edward Rostami, the former chief executive of Woodland Hills-based Polo Financial Services who was captured near the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year.

Rostami, 37, and his former partner, Sharon Palmer-Ross, 40, were indicted late Wednesday on fraud, conspiracy, bank fraud and other charges related to what prosecutors say was a $1 million real estate swindle.

The charges are the latest in a series of high-profile problems for Rostami. Authorities say the former Woodland Hills resident is already subject to more than $13 million in civil judgments related to his operation of Polo Financial and related firms.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Thvedt, Rostami and Ross used a fake investment scheme to persuade a Malibu homeowner to transfer her home's title to them. Thvedt said the couple then altered the grant deed to make the transaction appear as a gift, and then used that altered deed to obtain a $1 million loan from China Trust Bank.

Rostami's attorney, Dan Burland, said Thursday that his client has not yet seen the federal charges.

The charges are not the first against Rostami. He also faces two counts of conspiracy to commit elder abuse, two counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft, and nine counts of forgery in Santa Clara County.

Those criminal charges - coupled with a 2 1/2-year pursuit by county investigators - led to Rostami's Feb. 25 arrest near the U.S-Mexico border, authorities said. The arrest came just after Mexican authorities arrested and deported Rostami.

``It was a great example of local, state, federal and international cooperation on both sides of the border,'' said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Paul Colin.

The Santa Clara case centers around 78-year-old Irene Schuler. Colin said the Santa Clara resident was swindled twice by Rostami, costing her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Burland said Rostami maintains that he is innocent of the charges. If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

Rostami's partner, Sharon Palmer-Ross, also faces four conspiracy charges in the case. Another defendant, Carletta McCray of Granada Hills, faces two charges of conspiracy.

Colin said charges against Gary Fidler of Calabasas and Krystine Mai Do of San Jose have been dropped.

A preliminary hearing in the Schuler case is scheduled for June 6. Rostami and Palmer-Ross will likely face the federal charges after the county's case is concluded.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 14, 2000
Words:413
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