Nevada County investors lose out to shady, criminal brokers

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WHAT: Since the 1980s, rural Nevada County has been a hotbed of “hard money” lending — risky, high-interest loans to borrowers who didn’t qualify for a traditional bank loan or needed money fast.

WHY: Shady brokers took advantage of Nevada County’s influx of wealthy retirees with savings to invest in a vast territory for scenic community developments. California regulations are lax.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Since 1991, four Nevada County brokers went to prison, four others lost their licenses and four borrowers were either charged with or convicted of bilking investors.

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