S.F. Broker Victor Makras Facing Fraud Charges As Part Of Ongoing FBI Investigation
Federal charges against former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission head Harlan Kelly have expanded to include real estate executive Victor Makras.
A federal indictment filed Tuesday alleges Kelly and Makras conspired to illegally obtain a $1.3M refinance loan from Quicken Loans, using proceeds to repay undisclosed debts, such as a renovation of Kelly’s San Francisco home.
“The undisclosed debts are alleged to have been paid, with the assistance of Makras, in a method designed to conceal that Quicken Loans’ loan proceeds were used to repay these other debts,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Both defendants are facing additional charges of honest services wire fraud, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Makras is well known in the city for his philanthropic work, and he previously served as president of the San Francisco Association of Realtors. His S.F.-based real estate brokerage, Makras Real Estate, specializes in condominium and residential transactions.
The indictment marks the first charges against Makras, who last year stepped down from the board of the Port Commission, and the second for Kelly, who was first charged a year ago with fraud for allegedly accepting bribes from permit expediter Walter Wong, according to the San Francisco Examiner. The initial complaint alleges that Wong paid for a 2016 China vacation for Kelly and his wife, former City Administrator Naomi Kelly. In exchange, Kelly aided Wong in a bidding process for a contract to upgrade city streetlights, the Examiner notes.
That charge came in November 2020, at which point Kelly stepped down from his position as general manager of the PUC, a title he held for nearly eight years.
This week’s 16-page indictment is part of an ongoing FBI investigation into corruption at San Francisco’s City Hall and is an offshoot of the investigation of Wong, who is said to have also given bribes to Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, SFist notes.
The Justice Department said Kelly was to make his first court appearance this week on Wednesday; a date has yet to be set for Makras.