Two More Arrested in California Distressed Borrower Scam

Tamara Teresa Tikal of Brentwood in Contra Costa County, Calif., and Ray Jan Kornfeld of Las Vegas were arrested Sept. 12 for their alleged roles in a continuing multistate scam that has defrauded distressed mortgage borrowers, according to three regulatory entities.

According to a SIGTARP press release issued in conjunction with Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, and the state’s attorney general, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Alan David Tikal adding charges for him as well as charging his wife, Tamara, and Kornfeld, who allegedly continued the scam while he was in custody awaiting trial. The indictment was unsealed after the arrests, according to the SIGTARP report.

Tikal’s scheme allegedly has victimized more than a thousand homeowners, who have paid in excess of $3.4 million.

“Through their allegedly fraudulent mortgage relief scheme, Tikal, his wife, and their co-conspirator Kornfeld pocketed more than $3.4 million in initial fees and ‘loan’ payments from homeowners struggling to keep a roof over their heads,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP.

The scam allegedly exploited bankruptcy law as a way to illegally halt foreclosure proceedings by mortgage lenders, including TARP recipients. Many of the homeowners involved did not speak English as their first language, according to the SIGTARP report.

In addition to the aforementioned entities, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office and President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force have been involved in the investigation of the alleged fraud.