Broker Accused of Fraud Asks for Public Defender

A Camarillo mortgage broker accused of defrauding 15 investors of $480,000 has asked a Ventura County judge for a public defender, saying he cannot afford an attorney.

Municipal Court Judge Frederick A. Jones appointed a public defender to represent Joseph Curran, 47, at his arraignment Thursday pending a review of his financial status. Curran pleaded innocent at the arraignment.

Jones set bail at $1 million and scheduled a preliminary hearing for April 3.

Curran, who surrendered to sheriff's deputies Wednesday, a month after a warrant was issued for his arrest, faces 11 counts of grand theft and business and professional code violations, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. James Irving.

At least 15 people who invested in property through Curran found there were no county records of transactions supposedly made with their money, Irving said.

Curran is being held in the Ventura County Jail.

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