Broker accused of bilking neighbors

A longtime Walnut Creek real estate broker is in jail after allegedly defrauding his neighbors out of $370,000, Contra Costa County prosecutors said Thursday.

James Thomas Haro, 67, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of securities fraud, grand theft and embezzlement and was taken to county jail in Martinez, where he remained in custody this morning on $110,000 bail, according to the district attorney’s office.

Haro has more than 32 years of experience as a real estate broker and is the sole officer of the Walnut Creek-based real estate brokerage firm Alamo Mortgage Corporation, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said the Walnut Creek man defrauded his neighbor, who is a doctor, and the doctor’s spouse out of $370,000 in several investment schemes that were meant to be private short-term residential loans. Haro has been charged in Contra Costa County Superior Court with one count of securities fraud and two counts of grand theft.

If convicted on all charges and enhancements, he faces more than seven years in prison, prosecutors said. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of real estate fraud by Haro is asked to call Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Senior Inspector Ike Menchaca (925) 957-2248.