Edward Schwartz Federal building
Edward J. Schwartz Federal building. Photo courtesy of Google Maps

A San Diego real estate agent who allegedly stole more than $12 million from investors in a long-running fraud scheme was arraigned in federal court Friday on wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering charges.

Alexander Avergoon, 43, was arrested in Latvia in October following the unsealing of a federal indictment which accuses him of telling investors he would use their funds to buy properties in San Diego County, then pocketing the money for himself, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors allege Avergoon arranged fake real estate purchases, telling victims he was partnering with them to purchase local apartment buildings and commercial office space. Though he never bought the buildings, Avergoon made regular monthly payments to the victims, which were supposedly rent payments from tenants at the nonexistent properties, the indictment alleges.

The alleged crimes date back to 2010, prosecutors said.

Ryan Korner, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, alleged that Avergoon “victimized unwitting investors out of millions by falsely promising to purchase income-generating residential and business rental properties,” and “used an elaborate system of fraudulent trust deeds, forged signatures, fake IRS documents and shell companies to orchestrate his scheme.”

Avergoon was extradited back to the United States and transferred to San Diego on Thursday. He’s due back in court Tuesday for a detention hearing.

— City News Service