Accused of impersonating a G-Man, a Seal Beach woman met real FBI agents Thursday when they arrested her at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, authorities said.
Karen Hanover, 44, was arrested without incident two days after federal prosecutors charged her in a Santa Ana federal court with using special technology to mask her phone number and disguise her voice so she could scare people into thinking she was a federal agent.
The criminal complaint accuses Hanover of targeting people at real estate education seminars to pay her a $30,000 "fee" to help them find commercial properties to buy.
Hanover spent all of her time allegedly finding new investors to swindle out of their money instead of actually finding property, something she wasn't qualified to do anyway, prosecutors claim.
As her reputation soured, her victims took to the Internet, according to the complaint.
People wrote about her on blogs and encouraged others to call the FBI. So in turn, prosecutors allege that Hanover used a private company's services to mask her voice as a man and her phone number.
She then allegedly called her victims claiming to be an FBI agent, the phone number appeared to match the FBI's numbers in Los Angeles, Miami or Washington, D.C. Hanover said the FBI was looking into the case, but then she would threaten her victims with arrest if they pursued it further.
Eventually, one victim went directly to the FBI offices with their story. Hanover has not been charged for the alleged fraud yet, but authorities are building a case, officials said.
Hanover faces three years in prison if convicted of impersonating the FBI. She's being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.