Los Angeles Woman Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Scam

Jewel Hinkles, a k a Cydney Sanchez, 63, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty this week to bankruptcy fraud in connection with a foreclosure rescue scheme she ran, according to U.S. attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court documents state that on Dec. 1, 2011 a federal grand jury indicted Hinkles, along with Jesse Wheeler, 36, of Roseville, Brent Medearis, 46, of Modesto, and another individual whose trial is still pending in connection with the scheme. Wheeler and Medearis previously pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud. Hinkles was the founder and general manager of Horizon Property Holdings LLC in Beverly Hills.

“From 2008 through 2010, Hinkles offered a service called Save My Home or Homesaver that promised to rescue financially distressed homeowners from foreclosure and reduce the principal on homeowners’ mortgages. Horizon offered its program directly to clients and also through several layers of ‘affiliates,’ who promoted and sold the program to clients, mostly in Northern California,” according to the FBI.

The FBI said, “The defendants filed fraudulent deeds transferring an interest in the homeowner’s property to a fictitious entity called Pacifica Group 49/II. In many instances, the defendants also filed fraudulent petitions in bankruptcy court, often naming both the homeowner and Pacifica Group 49/II as the debtor. The purpose of these petitions was to invoke the automatic provisions of federal bankruptcy law that bring to an immediate halt any foreclosure actions against a debtor’s property.

“Because the fraudulent deeds and bankruptcy petitions delayed foreclosure proceedings, the defendants were able to pretend that they were providing a legitimate service and continue to collect fees from defrauded homeowners.”

According to the FBI, defendants charged homeowners an initial payment of about $3,500 and monthly fees up to $1,500, or an initial payment ranging from $1,750 to $6,500 and monthly fees up to $850.

“In total, the scheme collected at least $4.9 million from more than 1,000 homeowners, including homeowners whose mortgages were owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”