U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill has sentenced three California men who used to operate Star Reliable Mortgage to multiyear prison terms for taking part in a foreclosure rescue scheme.
Martin Calzada of Norwalk faces nine years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of California. Juan Curiel of Visalia is facing three years in prison, and Santiago Palacios-Hernandez of Salinas has been sentenced to two years and seven months in prison.
The defendants also were ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution to former Star Reliable clients as well as to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The two government-sponsored enterprises owned loans affected by the defendants' foreclosure rescue scheme.
A jury had convicted Calzada on one count of conspiracy and eight counts of mail fraud affecting a financial institution in March, and the two other men had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in December 2014.
The company's foreclosure rescue scheme operated as follows, according to evidence presented at Calzada's trial and reports from the U.S. Attorney's office:
— Star Reliable charged clients $2,500-$4,500 upfront as well as monthly fees to save their homes between August 2010 and October 2011.
— The three men advised clients to stop paying their mortgages and also falsely told their clients that the company had $1 million in a U.S. government account that could be used to pay off their loans.
— Defendants filed fraudulent documents at county recorders' offices on those clients' behalf with the intention of clouding title and halting or stalling foreclosures.
— Calzada transferred at least $300,000 of money from Star Reliable to his own bank accounts.