Santa Ana $1.4 Million Fraud

SANTA ANA (CNS) – A 42-year-old woman was scheduled to make her first appearance in court today on charges related to the defrauding of a real estate company’s Irvine office of $1.4 million. Michele Lynne Stewart, who was being held without bail in Orange County Jail, was arrested on Christmas day on multiple felony counts of forgery and theft, according to court records. An arrest warrant was issued Dec. 16. Stewart was accused of taking 28 fraudulent checks for a total of $240,880 from the manager of First Team Real Estate’s Irvine office from September 2011 through April 2012, according to court records. Co-defendant Brian Vancleave, who was also charged in the complaint and has been declared a fugitive, ran the office’s risk management division, which handled claims, settlements and legal services. Vancleave is accused of issuing 228 fraudulent checks for more than $1.4 million to friends and relatives, according to court records. Vancleave worked at the office from May 2007 through April 2012. The other named co-defendants are Robert Morken, 37; Jennifer Vancleave, 38; Joe Chang, 37; Joon Kim, 39; Rebecca Kim, 68; Tomy Lam, 28; Bryce Jacot, 41; and Jimmy Lam, 39.