SAN DIEGO – Six people were indicted and arrested on 135 felony charges for their mortgage fraud schemes targeting homeowners in the Inland Empire as well as other parts of Southern California who were at risk of foreclosure.
Officials from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) said that Jacob Orona, Aide Orona, John Contreras, Prakashumar (“Kash”) Bhakta, Marcus Robinson, and David Boyd were involved in an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme where thousands of dollars were stolen from unsuspecting victims.
The group of six fraudsters allegedly made promises to homeowners who were underwater on their mortgage that they would help them to avoid foreclosure. The homeowners were advised to stop making payments on their home and to pay them $3500 to start with the “administrative process”, DOJ officials said. The homeowners were then to pay $1,000 each month as well as other amounts to allegedly file legal documents.
“The defendants filed bogus petitions and court pleadings and recorded false deeds in county recorders’ offices, causing over $4 million in losses while failing to halt any foreclosures,” the DOJ press release said. The six were arrested last week and face 135 felony charges, including conspiracy, grand theft, filing false or forged documents, and identity theft. The Attorney General’s Mortgage Fraud Strike Force is prosecuting the case.
“I created the Mortgage Fraud Task Force in 2011 to ensure that we tirelessly protect Californians struggling to stay in their homes from those who would prey upon them for profit. This indictment is the result of a joint effort to remain vigilant in the investigation and prosecution of those who attempt to defraud homeowners through the mortgage process,” said Attorney General Harris. “I thank our Mortgage Fraud Strike Force and California Department of Justice Special Agents, as well as our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, for their efforts on this case.”
DOJ officials said that if convicted as charged, Jacob and Aide Orona face over 90 years in prison; Contreras and Prakashkumar face over 70 years in prison; Robinson faces over 28 years in prison, and Boyd faces over 18 years in prison.
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- 512px-Sign_of_the_Times-Foreclosure: By respres (http://www.flickr.com/photos/respres/2539334956/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons