The owners of a telemarketing company that prosecutors accused of stealing more than $7 million from 4,000 homeowners in distress were convicted of various felony charges in U.S. District Court in Riverside.
Victims lost more than $7 million when they paid for services, including loan modifications, that were never provided after they were contacted through cold calls, advertisements and company-controlled websites.
Christopher Paul George, 45, co-owned 21st Century Legal Services Inc. George was found guilty by a federal jury of wire fraud, wire fraud affecting a financial institution and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
In the same trial, Crystal Taiwana Buck, 40 of Long Beach, whom prosecutors called a sales “closer,” was convicted of mail fraud.
Albert DiRoberto, 62, of Fullerton, a sales and marketing employee, was found guilty of mail and wire fraud affecting a financial institution.
Christopher George’s co-owner, Andrea Ramirez, 47, was convicted in the operation of 21st Century after an earlier trial
“Members of the conspiracy preyed upon homeowners who were in desperate financial straits by making promises they had no intention of keeping,” Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura said in the news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
To date, a total of 11 defendants linked to 21st Century have been convicted of federal fraud charges as a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; IRS – Criminal Investigation; the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.