State regulators cancel EFI sales permits

June 9, 2008


Estate Financial Corp. (EFI) of Paso Robles can no longer solicit nor accept investor money because the troubled lender’s state permit to do so has been revoked.

Specifically, regulators from the California Department of Corporations (DOC) have stopped the firm from selling mortgage fund securities and part interest in real estate investments. The revocation follows on the heels of an earlier suspension.

“We revoked their permit to raise funds,” said DOC Director of Communications Mark Leyes. “They can continue to service existing funds and investors. It does not shut them down.”

San Luis Obispo County’s District Attorney’s Office is investigating numerous complaints from county residents and others who believe their principal investments with EFI have been misused. Local prosecutors are working with DOC investigators to examine the allegations.

“We are doing what we can to make sure the district attorney has what they need to do their job,” Leyes added. “The revocation is just one piece of the puzzle. If there is malfeasance that rises to the level of criminality, it will be up to the prosecutors.”

A top county prosecutor agreed.

“The DOC is also looking at more aggressive or criminal acts they can refer,” said Deputy District Attorney Steve Von Dohlen. “Then we review and decide whether or not to file criminal charges or more investigation.

Prior to taking funds from an investor, the permit required EFI’s owners, Karen Guth and Joshua Yaguda, to provide prospective investors with a questionnaire regarding their individual financial standing. The DOC concluded Guth and Yaguda failed to fill out the required forms. Guth also failed to disclose that she was a partner in more than 15 percent of EFI funded construction projects as stated in a circular distributed by the EFI.

Sources contend Guth knew she was over her allotment and had started to dump properties. A check of county records for properties having “EFI” listed as the grantor or the grantee showed 267 records changes in 2008.

Yaguda declined to comment on the state agency’s permit revocation and referred a reporter to EFI’s Web site.

EFI is one of a number of hard money lenders currently under fire in SLO County. Hard money lenders specialize in real estate-backed short-term bridge loans. These high risk loans are based on the value of the underlying asset rather then the borrower’s credit rating. EFI, during better times, paid investors approximately 12 percent interest on their investments.

On April 28, the DOC suspended EFI’s permit while the agency investigated an onslaught of charges. In response to the allegations, EFI requested a hearing to challenge the suspension, but later withdrew the request.

EFI stopped making interest payment last fall and numerous investors concerned about their money filed complaints with the regulatory agency.

In response to allegations Guth and Yaguda failed to protect investors, the San Luis Obispo law firm of Sinsheimer Juhnke Lebens and McIvor has invited more than 1,600 investors to attend a meeting June 17 at the Alex Madonna Expo Center to discuss replacing the $170 million fund manager.

Guth and Yaguda fired back with a letter last Friday claiming the law firm, required to have 10 percent of fund investors interested in the meeting, represented only a half dozen investors. The mother-son duo claimed the law firm dis not have the expertise to manage the fund. In the letter, EFI did not mention that permits had been revoked the previous week.

Tags:, district attorney, EFI, Estate Financial, San Luis Obispo County

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Sorry Don Baxstresser I applaud you as well.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Is Truman a real name? Where is Truman?

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

I guess Don Baxstresser is a fake name?

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

In defense of the INVESTORS, they probably worked really hard for there money and to be left with absolutely nothing. I am sure that the loss of this money ruined peoples lives, especially if it was their entire savings. How many investors were actually properly "qualified" by those who took their money. I think it is great that the Builders may have an opportunity to complete their projects but are those builders going to pay back the investors or are the investors going to be left holding an empty bag? I think we all probably have an interesting story to tell, I really applaud Ron Cooper because he is the only one so far that is blogging on this site that is using his real name and comming out into the open even if it means he is open. I for one think we should all do that, use our real names and tell our stories right here on this site.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Put Karen's kid in with Bubba at CMC and he'll squeal like a pig!

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Put Karen's kid in with Bubba at CMC and he'll squeal like a pig!

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Karen has the builders made out to be the bad guys. Just so everyone knows, many builders 'purchased' their loans for good money and collateral from Estate Financial and then Karen and Joshua failed to fulfill those loans completely. Some received less than 1/3 of the money promised to them. Estate Financial essentially ran out of money on the borrowers leaving them unable to finish their projects. Many builders are victims of Estate Financial. Remember this when you attend the meeting on Tuesday! These builders aren't the bad guy.

Keep in mind there are other builders that Karen partnered with who potentially are very, very questionable. Recall the Three Bells Winery story in this website. D'Amico, Karen and Josh should be under investigation.

If Karen did take in money from investors to 'fill' a loan and then didn't disperse it out claiming she ran out of money, then 'Where did the money go?'

Karen took in enough money from investors for the winery and many other projects in question and projects didn't get completed. Again we should all ask 'Where did the money go?'

Bring your questions to the meeting for Karen on Tuesday. Still, to this date, I don't know where the money went, do you?

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Why isn't a QUIET TITLE good for an investor? Has a Hearing for your QUIET TITLE ACTION been set?

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08


IF the bankrupt Entity is the borrower, yes it could "possibly" be dischargeable. But no borrower I have talked to is considering filing a BK on his property. If EFI or the fund is in BK they cannot discharge the debt.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Really good explanation, however doesn't that mean that the unsecured debt could become wholly dischargable in Bankrupcy.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

To Redriver and Wanda

Read your offering memorandum. Karen Guth calls the meeting. The investors only get to demand that she does call a meeting.

So Karen called the meeting. Karen will run the meting.

Frederickson will probably make a presentation. About what I don't know. But remember, whatever he says, he represents a very very small number of clients, clients who are paying his law firm money.

He does not represent the rest of the fund investors, doesn't represent any fractionalized trust deed holders.

The meeting Tuesday is a meeting Karen WILL CONTROL. Tuesday's meeting will have whatever outcome Karen wants it to have.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

QUITE TITLE: An action brought in a California Superior Court whereby a property owner asks a Judge to remove a secured lien from the property title as previously recorded by the County Recorder.

In other words the Estate Financial Trust Deed against a property would be taken off of title by a Court Order.

That does not mean the loan (debt) is wiped out. It just means the land owner has turned the secured loan into an unsecured loan. The property owner could then go out and get a new secured first trustee deed pushing the EFI loan behind a new First Trust Deed.

Not good for the investors, but a real possibility because EFI has defrauded its borrowers.

I have filed a Quiet Title Action.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

What is quiet a title?

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

To Redriver

What? Am I not aware, shouldn't the Fredrickson group have an agenda prepared for this upcoming meeting. Did they loose complete control? Is anyone from that law firm speaking? Somebody explain.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Let's think about who will chair the meeting June 17 and what the agenda will be. I assume this meeting will determine the direction we go.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

OK Anonymous..let's have a meeting this Sat …9AM at the Sunken Gardens in Atascadero….SW Corner..I'm the 3rd homeless guy on the right wearing the PR baseball cap. Please confirm!

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

For goodness sake! Enough chatter! What would all of you prefer to do about this situation as a whole? Would you like to take over your personal FTDs? John Childers tried it, that failed. Would you like to vote out Karen? Regardless of a positive vote to remove her there still has to be a court order. If the court has to be involved would you prefer a receiver, management team, trustee or any other options you can think of? Pick one. Stop your chatter and discuss the pros and cons of your above choice. Most all of you agree Karen has to go. Focus on the end result and post about that!

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

OK…if you feel you're not going to get a dime back, try this: Gift to any left wing tax exempt organization all your shares and take the EFI value of the funds as a tax write off for charitable donations. I believe in most cases you will be forced to carry over a lot the write off, but tax monies not spent is beeter than $0 when you go to surrender your shares. Your welcome in advance

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Mr. Baxstressor:

In the letter revoking the permits, Mr. DuFauchard provides a list of the violations as well. The revocation was clearly not "voluntary".

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Dear Mr. Baxstressor:

Contrary to what you were told by Lupe at EFI, their permits were in fact REVOKED.

Plese go to:



Be sure to type it exactly as above.



You will find that Mr. Preston DuFauchard, California Corporations Commissioner, signed the document REVOKING the permits on May 28, 2008.

Do not expect to get a truthful reply when calling EFI. They wouldn't know the truth if it hit them in the head.

It is unbelievable that they continue to lie even when all it takes is a few strokes on the computer to prove them to be liars.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

to Don

Read it for yourself on the DOC website…

"…Based upon the foregoing, the Commissioner finds it is in the public interest to revoke the permit issued to Respondent and that Respondent’s proposed plan of business and proposed issuance of securities is no longer fair, just and equitable because the Respondent’s Offering Circular contains material misrepresentations about the investment and the Respondent is not conducting business as disclosed in the Offering Circular.

NOW GOOD CAUSE APPEARING THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Permit issued by the Commissioner to Estate Financial Mortgage Fund, LLC. on May 21, 2007 is hereby revoked. This order is effective as of the date hereof.

Dated: May 28, 2008

Sacramento, California


California Corporations Commissioner"

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

I made a call to EFI about 10 niutes ago and spoke to Lupe. Iasked her if EFI Still had their license to transact business and she said it was suspended. I asked her about this articla that said EFI had it's permit revoked. She responded that it was not revoked, that EFI voluntarily gave it back to the State. I asked if it was under pressure of being revoked and she said, no that they had not done any loans in a long time and so they voluntarily turned it in. I asked Lupe if the answers she gave me to my questions wre what she was told to say or what actually happened. She stated that was what happened….someone is lying. Karen and Dave…was the permit revoked as reported?

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Josh aka Anonymous aren't we just the wee bit testy!!!!!!!

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08


Even if your info ia accurate, I would consider you a blog slut.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Well folks, I have News for you and your investments they are all going south as we speak. It is an entire Ponzi Con. Look at her packet she did for Steinbeck Vineyards 401 K profit sharing plan it is now empty of value so are many others.

You who have lost need to file complaints with the US Dept. of Justice and the State's Attorney General as well. Her many companies are just a move and hide shell game. Her many companies such as Estate Financial, Inc., Buena Vista Place,LLC First Press Partners, LLC ERC 24, LLC DOYA Partners II, LLC DOYA Partners, LLC Estate Financial Mortgage Fund, LLC are just a few of her many companies all belong to Karen Guth and her close friends. She is deeply associated with Clavis Development International, LLC SLO-Verdot, LLC Verdot Group, L.P. Peter and Frans De Witte Mortgage Investors Fund, LLC, KITCO Holdings, LLC

Ventura-Duval South, L.P. Atascadero Ventures, LLC and so many more you would get a head ache. She uses her Partner and Lawyer Roderick Rodewald who is the husband of SLO County Clerk/Recorder Julie Rodewald to get the inside scoop to all of there advantage yet the investors are left out in the cold. Watch as she transfer's everything from DOYA to herself and goes belly up. It was all a scam. Since she likes to play golf alot and drinks heavily while playing golf Julie's lips get a little loose and she spits out information like a drunk sailor.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

To Red(Headed)Driver: (We know who you, you trickster you!)What expenses and "unknowns" are you collecting from the Fund and 1st trust deed holders every month and to date for 2007-2008? What is the PR firm costing us per month and to date? How much of our money have you paid to the numerous attorneys who are defending you against all the lawsuits that, through neglect and mismanagement, have been filed? (And what are we individuals going to have to pay our own attorneys to defend us against the lawsuits that we are named in?) The DOC has proved that you broke the rules. The Dept of Realtors and the DA's office (and the FBI? and Securities and Exchange?)continue to investigate and speak with investors. Why do you think that is? The court that appoints a receiver will direct him/her. The receiver will be accountable. You, redl-haired wonder, are not. You are not accountable to anyone but yourself in your eyes. We questioning investors are but an annoyance to you. Remember, you can do as you please. But this willl all stop soon. Our votes will remove you as manager and we will have a compentent, sane person or group put in charge. It's almost over.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

Well, here we are on the 11th and no official invite for the big meeting on the 17th. If this groups ability to notify/invite is any indication od their competence, they are suspect at best.

I spoke to one of the "5" over the weekend and he indicated to me that the local law firm was not going to be involved in this meeting. I don't know if they wanted to be paid to attend and no one would write a check or, maybe they didn't get their invite.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

To Redriver – Proving where Karen broke the rules is not a problem.

To Milkcow – If you hire a receiver, you don't want a local person ever! You always want an outsider. To many potential conflicts.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

I've got proof— 25% of one of our properties was sold and she paid off the fund and not the FTD in equal amounts— we were not notified of this sale, I had to find this out by running a title report!

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Seems we will be better off to vote down getting a receiver. How would it help in this market with all the expense and the unknowns involved? You sure better prove where Karen has broken the rules.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

To Milk Cow:

I sure hope you got Dennis's permission to post his number before doing so. I'd imagine he's getting hammered with phone calls about now! Yikes for him!

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

While many trust deed investors may not want to recognize the mortgage fund as having the same status as thier own investment, until the "Fund" has someone in charge that they can trust most Estate projects will remain in limbo. Right now Karen still has the right to act in the "funds" behalf, however this may soon change. The sooner this is resolved the better for all. To promote that the "Fund" has no position is not correct. The "Fund" should have the same standing as any trust deed investor no more no less. I don't think any property can be sold without all investors agreeing. At this time it may be Karen still retains the right to act on the funds behalf in any transfers.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Just trying to help so you don't get duped out of all your money. You have to identify the investor with the particular property to make a claim. And that's all I have to say.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

interesting how people on the outside are fighting about OUR money… This is helping no one except Karen.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

to to insider

Lets say your a trust deed investor and on the property you invested in you invested 49% of the loan proceeds and the Estate Financial Fund invested the other 51% of the moneys. Are you suggesting you can do anything with that property without the permission of and financial split with the Fund that owns 51% of that trust deed. Now as to how the Fund splits the proceeds with the fund shareholders thats thier problem not yours. I think if the trust deed holders think these people are just going to go away and give you thier hard earned investment you might want to rethink that one.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Show me a property financed by "the fund" and run a title report on it. Show me how an investor, any of the thousands involved, are going to attach to a single property.

Your dreaming. By the time the attorney's get that figured out the investors will owe more money than what they have lost.

Ask one of these "fund" investoras to identify where their money went. To all of the projects you say?

I think you are on the outside looking in.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

1.It takes money to finish the projects so they can be sold in order for us to get our money back, right?

2.The DOC will not allow EFI to do this, right?

3.If we must have a receiver, then I recommend Dennis M. Murphy, CPA,CIRA (626-794-0288) to become the permanent receiver. He did one for us who were involved in a rotten deal in San Diego's Emeral Bay with their Emvest Fund. He is not local however. He is in Pasadana.

3. I had rather wait for the market to improve than to have a fire sale. We still are the first deed holders of good property.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

to to insider

Your wrong poodle. The fund is a partnership with shares distributed to the individual investors. The fund a partnership is a legal entity and can own, sell and or transfer real estate just like any person. The Fund is a owner and represents a percentage ownership on each deed the Fund invested in. As long as the Fund exists it can manage its buisness and affairs as the majority of the shareholders see fit. So they are on the deeds as the Fund. Many of the investors in the fund have far more of thier life savings invested than the individual trust investors. Estate promoted this as a safer investment because it is spread to all deeds of trust Now have a biscut and see how this pans out.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Karen is probably working the trust deed owners to supporting her. The fund is a majority owner on many loans and is therefore required to approve all deals. Of course if Karen can convince the trust deed owners that she will be easier to work with than a Fund controlled by someone else she will try.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Your spinning it here. I have absolutely nothing to do with EFI, Hurst or Gearhart. I'm too conservative and wouldn't take the risk.

You need to do a little research on your advice. The people in the "pool" do not have any deeds to take over. You will never find their names on a deed. So with that said how do they go after their investment with it only being in Karen's bank account which is now gone.

You are really getting off on this. I only wish that this had never happened to ALL parties concerned. It's not going to go away. The question is how hard is it going to go away.

Reading your comments make me believe that you must be an Atascadero native who is full of everything that you can find negative with any issue.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Dewdog is involved with Gearhart and Hurst that has been evident from the start. As to the fund sure they would all like you to disappear evidently especially dewdog. The fund holds a majority interest on almost every loan therefore the 1st trust deed holders are subject to the fund. Thats unfortunate for the trust deed holders but good for fund holders. Of course Karen did this for her own purposes but thats the way it is. Stay the course. It may be that the fund and trust deed holders need to take over and take the property back it may also be they need to hold on to it for a while until the market returns. It may be that some fund holders and trust deed holders are ready to take a deep discount. That could all be worked out once you have secured your property and filed fraud lawsuits against Estate and thier owners where you would try to aquire any assets they have. Dewdog or Doodog as I like to call him wants this to go away. Why? Because Gearhart and Hurst are next in line and that's where his bread is buttered. There are probably many who have invested through Estate that have investments with Hurst/Gearhart also. I'm sure the DOC is giving them the once over also. Not if you don't file your complaints. How has giving Karen more time with your money worked out so far?

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

I've never been gone. Just tried to be involved with the topic and let people like you not stray from the topic.

I have never condoned the actions of ANY of the hard money lenders. There's no excuse for any of it.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Reference to the pool fund investors unfortunately their funds are not identified on any deed. Their money was put in a "bucket" and just thrown out. Unfortunately their money is not attached to anything but Karen Guth.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

dewdog said "Those in the pool fund should pack your bags and move on"

Well, I am sure that some of the TD's investors would like that… sorry we are all in the same sh*t bucket.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

dewdog is back? The still silent one on Hurst/Gearhart has spoken.

Sorry, no cred left from this gearhart puppet.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

Unfortunately all of the actions that have been commented on here is NOT going to get your money back. It's gone. The attorney's and/or receiver's will only suck the last drop out of the turnip. As I have stated before the investots need to get control of their individual projects and attempt to sell them for whatever you can. Any sales price will reduce your potential 100% loss. Those in the pool fund should pack your bags and move on,

If you do attend any meeting with attorney's I would ask what money they intend to get back for you? And that would be after they take their portion.

Keep your suffering to a minimum.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

The DOC is doing thier job. Make sure the DRE is doing thiers. File your complaints.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

I have a little more info from the DRE… I spoke to the investigating officer in charge of the EFI case yesterday. He told me that they are still working on the investigation and that it is taking extra time because they are going over the audits of EFI's books they did when they were at EFI.

The DRE will post any action they take on the DRE web site at these links:

EFI's License

Joshua's License

Karen's License

If you haven't filed a complaint with the DRE, there is still a little time to do so…

Licensee/Subdivider Complaint (RE 519)

Complaint Form Information (RE 519A)

y: Anonymous on 6/10/08

We have one week before this meeting. Instead lets focus on the solution. How about writing to Fredrickson as to what we are hoping to hear at the meeting. Or post with knowledge each one of us may have accumulated toward a solution to this mess. What is most efficient way to clean up EFI? Is there a group of investors analysing the options or have they placed it in their lawyers hands and have fallen asleep? To me it appears there are three options:

1) Let it ride with Karen

2) Have a management team step in

3) Arrange for a receiver to be placed.

Obvioulsy #1 is out. #2 is worth hearing about but I sure would like to know more about them. What are their costs compared to a receiver? What's their experience level compared to an experienced receiver? The thought of the investors paying for an inexperienced team or rookie receiver should not even be an option in their heads. Choose only experience. If the options proposed to you don't reflect only seasoned professionals then KNOWyou do have other choices. May all the choices be explained at the June 17th meeting.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

The only thing you can really do is make sure ALL of the people involved are never able to take peoples money again. Regulatory agencies, DOC, FTC are all great places to start. I have learned the hard way but am getting a great education. Somebody who used to be very important to me once told me "trust is a hard lesson to learn" I wish I would have know then what their intentions were when they were writting that email to me.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

We can go back and forth with the EFI misdoings. The fact is the asset base has been devalued but there are still assets to be had. If you want any portion of your money back, albeit 20-50 cents on the dollar, attend the meeting and

vote to remove Karen.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

You folks are really excited over not much? Do you really think EFI was bringing in new money? Are you serious? This suspension is two years too late. Your money is long gone as all of the projects have depreciated so much they will never pay you back. Economists are predicting a credit crunch for at least another 2 years! Real Estate will be depressed for years to come. Like always, law enforcement and government regulation was so far behind the times that all of the damage has been done. Linda Kennedy lives in Costa Rica with the millions she pocketed, whatever cash EFI had is long gone as well.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

hot dog says:

You are right. I will be more careful

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

To Why Not.

Can you proof read your comments a little bit before posting? It looks like some of the posters are totally illiterate or could care less what sort of message they put out-both do a disservice to the rest of us.

A few errors here and there are acceptable, your post was painful to read.

You can always write in word and use spellcheck, then copy to here. Even this site warns you when your words are out of whack, I suppose you just ignore that advice. But don't punish us with your failings.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Anonymous says:

Karen requested a hearing before the Dept of Corp and then "withdrew her request?"

Karen new very well not to make false statement iner appeal with the DOC. Any statement claims she would make with the DOC would come back to bite her in the rear. For what I can assume, it would be big time "PURJERY" no matter what she say. Itslike thequestion; When doeas Karen lies? A; when she opens her mouth. It was a wise move on her part not to go through with the appeal.

For all practical purposes, makes not much differenc in the opeartion other that showing she conveniently left it out of her latest notice to investors. Well, what else would you expect?

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Well, it's about time.

Will Hurst be next? I don't think they botched things as much as EF but they have made a mess of their own camp and the investors are howling mad.

Any Hurst victims who want to bond with others give us an email:

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Wow……, great information contained in this article. Thanks for the link.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Karen requested a hearing before the Dept of Corp and then "withdrew her request?" Hmmm, wonder why? Cause there is no basis to request an appeal? Cause she would have to provide documents to prove their findings were wrong? Hmmmmm? I say thank you to Mr. Preston DuFauchard for his due diligence. He and his staff listened and read the complaints and followed through. Not only have they done their job but they continue working to protect us from Karen's incompetence (to put it mildly). I applaud his office for continuing to look at more aggressive or criminal acts that they can refer to the DA's Office. Halleluja! The Department of Real Estate are knocking at the door with the DA being forced to take action. Pack your bags old girl, I've always wanted an olive ranch!!!!!!!

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

what are the lyrics to JAILHOUSE ROCK?

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

You know they found bad stuff. It takes forever to loose a license this was record time. Hopefully the DRE will be as decisive and move the local DA to action. They can't possibly be of help to the investors now. They can't raise funds to finish projects and who would even consider lending to projects they are involved in.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Well the first pitch has been thrown and it's a strike. Let's see how long the game will go on before we get to the end.

1 2 3 5