CALIFORNIA AG FILES CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST TWO FROM GARDENA FOR MORTGAGE FRAUD
On Oct. 16, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the arrest of two suspects who have been charged with grand theft, burglary, unlawful collection of advance fees, tax evasion and conspiracy in a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme. Both suspects also face special enhancements for excessive taking and aggravated white-collar crime for losses to victims exceeding $350,000.
The arrest declaration alleges Joana Sosa and Zoila Ortega ran a criminal mortgage fraud enterprise mainly against Spanish-speaking victims and targeted members of their own Spanish-speaking community. Other family and friends often referred many of the victims.
Sosa and Ortega are charged with 41 criminal felony counts. If convicted, they each face 36 years in prison, including fines and restitution. They were booked at the Los Angeles County Jail and remain in custody at this time.
From 2008 to 2010, Sosa and Ortega charged their victims thousands of dollars in up-front fees and monthly payments, promising to protect their victims from eviction by purchasing their property from their lender and becoming their new "lender." Sosa and Ortega promised the victims a modified loan they could afford with the opportunity to buy back their home in the future. Sosa and Ortega rendered no services, resulting in consumers being evicted from their homes. Additionally, Sosa and Ortega instructed several consumers to stop making their mortgage payment, and in some instances, to stop paying their bills all together. Consumers were told this would allow them to qualify for a loan modification.
Many of the victims only spoke Spanish and were instructed to sign contracts in English.
In November 2011, the Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation into this matter based on information received by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs Real Estate Fraud Unit. Agencies that assisted in this investigation include: California Department of Justice Special Agents with the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, the Franchise Tax Board and the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs Real Estate Fraud Unit. (LASC Cse #BA396271)
The state is getting into the act with a vengeance.
SACRAMENTO RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO MORTGAGE FRAUD
On Oct. 18, Sean McClendon pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud arising from home sales in the Sacramento area. Co-defendant Anthony Salcedo is alleged to have compensated McClendon and co-defendant Anthony Williams for finding buyers for four properties owned by or associated with Salcedo. Some of the payments by Salcedo went to the buyers of the property, although the payments were never disclosed to the lenders as part of the purchase and sale agreements. McClendon participated in the loan origination process for the buyers and in each instance the buyers’ income and assets were falsified in order to qualify for the loans. All properties involved were foreclosed by the lenders, resulting in losses of over $1 million.
The date for McClendon’s sentencing is not yet set. The maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud and the elated conspiracy is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The charges against Salcedo are only allegations, and he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. (usattyedsac101812)
As long as you have been reading this e alert, is there any doubt but this is still ongoing and will probably continue for at least two more years.
IDAHO COUPLE PLEAD GUILTY TO MORTGAGE FRAUD
On Oct. 19, Aaron Michael Hymas and Tiffany Kim Hymas pled guilty in United States District Court in Boise to one count of wire fraud.
The defendants admitted that on March 28, 2007, they schemed to defraud a lender by having Tiffany Hymas submit a residential loan application for $295,600, wherein she misrepresented that she was employed by OPM Enterprises with 2.6 years on the job; that she had income and commissions of $72,500 per month; and that she had gross rental income of $14,600 per month from four properties located in Meridian, Nampa, and Boise. Based on these misrepresentations, the loan was funded by Taylor, Bean and Whitaker Mortgage Corp. The defendants admitted that Tiffany Hymas’ statements were false and material to the loan application and that they knew the statements were false at the time she made them.
The defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for Jan. 14, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.
This is part of the long-term investigation into the mortgage activities of those associated with Crestwood Homes.
In a related case, Travis Richard Hymas was scheduled to be sentenced this past week after a federal jury convicted him on June 22 on five counts of wire fraud related to mortgage fraud. During the eight-day trial, the jury heard evidence that between November 2006 and March 2007, Hymas defrauded five lenders on nine residential loans valued at approximately $1.7 million. According to court documents, Travis and his wife Season filed a bankruptcy petition on July 17, 2008, in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho. On March 19, 2009, the bankruptcy proceeding discharged a substantial amount of the debt they owed on the fraudulent loans. Season Hymas is set for trial in Boise on Nov. 13. To date, nine people have been sentenced in related cases, (101912loansafe.pr)
Note that the loans go back to 2007. So if anyone did loans from 2007 to 2012 that are questionable, they should seek a knowledgeable attorney now rather than wait until federal agents come to the door. There are legal preventative measures that can be taken usually to mitigate the problem.