By Ray Stern
The Arizona Corporation Commission is jumping on Mark Bosworth, the former self-proclaimed real estate "guru" whose troubles were documented in a May feature article in New Times.
In this July 3 "Notice of Opportunity for Hearing," the commission says Bosworth and three of his employees ripped off $5.6 million from 31 investors who thought they were buying property in Rocky Point, Mexico.
The investors were promised a 30 to 100 percent return on their money. Instead, they took a 100 percent loss, according to the commission. Bosworth had the investors' money transferred from the company, "3 Gringos Mexican Investment," to Mark Bosworth and Associates, where it was used for "other purposes," the July 3 notice states.
As the New Times story reported, Bosworth was once a local real estate star who held seminars to teach people how to invest in Phoenix's once smoking-hot housing market. His house of cards collapsed when the market went south and investors shed light on some of his spurious business practices. He declared bankruptcy after losing a major lawsuit in which he was accused of forging signatures on property deeds.
That $17 million judgment led the Arizona Real Estate Commission, which is conducting its own investigation of Bosworth and his businesses, to stop Bosworth from doing any more work in the industry.
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The Corporation Commission seems to be preparing for a major attack. Besides Bosworth, the notice targets former Bosworth employees Steve Van Campen, Michael Sargent and Robert Bornholdt for possible "restitution, for adminstrative penalties, and for other affirmative action." The men's wives are also named, notably Bosworth's wife and occasional business partner, Lisa Bosworth.
Mark Bosworth and crew have until August 3 to answer the notice. A hearing date hasn't been set.
Don't bother looking for news about the Corporation Commission's latest accusations against Bosworth in the Arizona Republic. The paper's coverage of Bosworth's legal troubles has been suspiciously sparse -- maybe because it's too busy raking in dough for the double-page ads bought by the property-management company Bosworth founded, Gorenter.
Insiders say the Republic would be wise to accept only cash for those ads.