California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Mortgage Rescue Fraud' Category

Jewel Hinkles and Others Sentenced for Loan Modification Fraud

September 30th, 2014 at 10:32am

Four people have been sentenced to federal prison for scheming to victimizing homeowners in foreclosure.

U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb  sentenced Jesse Wheeler, 37, of Roseville to three years; Jewel Hinkles, aka Cydney Sanchez, 64, of Los Angeles to five years; Cynthia Corn, 61, of Oakland to two and a half years; and Brent Medearis, 48, of Modesto to one year and 10 months in prison.

Evidence presented by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California showed that Jewel Hinkles was the founder and general manager of Horizon Property Holdings LLC in Beverly Hills. From 2008 through 2010, she offered programs called “Save My Home” or “Homesaver” that promised homeowners she would save their homes and reduce the principal on their mortgages (loan modifications scams).

Jesse Wheeler was one of Hinkles’ affiliates and his Roseville-based company, J.W. Financial Solutions, took in approximately $2,133,376 from more than 600 victims.

Prosecutors said the defendants promised the homeowners they would buy the homeowners’ mortgages at a discount in order to reduce the principal and monthly payments. To effect this, the defendants filed fraudulent deeds (title fraud) transferring an interest in the homeowner’s property to a fictitious entity called Pacifica Group 49/II.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee S. Bickley and Matthew D. Segal.

Read the original article in the Merced Sun-Star.

Alan David Tikal Convicted in Mortgage Reduction Scam

September 19th, 2014 at 7:33am

After a one-day bench trial on stipulated facts before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley, Alan David Tikal was convicted on 11 counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Tikal ran a business called KATN, which promised homeowners in financial distress that he would lower their outstanding mortgage debt by 75%, thereby lowering their monthly mortgage payments. He falsely claimed to his victims that he was “a registered private banker with access to an enormous line of credit and the ability to pay off homeowners’ mortgages in full. Tikal told homeowners that in return for various fees and payments, their existing loans would be paid in full, and the homeowners would then owe new loans to Tikal that would be only 25 percent of the original loan.”

As the reader might suspect, none of the homeowners’ saw their mortgages paid, foregiven or reduced and because they were told to stop making their mortgage payments to their banks, many lost their homes to foreclosure. Of the $5.8 million Tikal collected, almost half went into his or his family’s accounts for their personal use.

Alan David Tikal‘s crimes were considered so extensive that he was prosecuted by both the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the California Attorney General’s Office. His case was investigated by  SIGTARP, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the California Department of Justice, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.

 

 

Owner of Head Financial Service Get 35 YEARS in Prison

September 12th, 2014 at 11:15am

Charles Head, 40, the former CEO of Head Financial Services, Creative Loans and other brokerage and financial companies, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 35 years in prison for operating foreclosure rescue scams.

Instead of helping homeowners who came to him for help in avoiding foreclosure of their homes, Head substituted straw buyers on the victims’ property titles without their knowledge (title fraud). straw buyers then applied for mortgages and sucked out whatever equity existed. The victims lost their homes and suffered damage to their credit ratings.

According to prosecutors, Charles Head‘s foreclosure fraud began in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and then expanded to a nationwide operation. In all, he and his co-conspirators obtained over $90 million in loans, caused losses of over $50 million and stole the title to more than 300 homes. He was caught only because one of his victims in Sacramento contacted an FBI economic crimes agent on a complaint line.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

U.S. Attorney Charges 3 Men in $18.5 Million Mortgage Modification Scheme

August 8th, 2014 at 9:17am

In an announcement made by Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, three men have been arrested and charged in relation to what may be one of the largest mortgage modification schemes ever committed.

Charged with one count each of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud are Ped Abghari, aka “Ted Allen”, 37, of Irvine, California; Dionysius Fiumano, aka “D”, 43, of Irvine, California; and Justin Romano, 40, of Blue Point, New York. The three are alleged to have taken up to $18.5 million from over 8,000 financially distressed homeowners in all 50 states by falsely promising them pre-approval for lower payments through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and aggressive legal representation.

“This was all a purported ruse used to trick vulnerable homeowners into paying the defendants thousands of dollars in up-front fees for which zero meaningful work was ever actually done,” Romero said. “SIGTARP has aggressively pursued these allegations, working closely with Preet Bharara’s office, to protect homeowners in New York and across our nation from becoming victims of this crime and to bring perpetrators to justice.”

Read the original article in DSNews.

Petaluma Owners of Mortgage Modifiers Appear in Bankruptcy Court

June 6th, 2014 at 8:21am

Miguel Angel Lopez-Soleta and his wife, Heidi Beth Marks-Lopez have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy following a criminal investigation into Lopez-Soleta’s firm Mortgage Modifiers, Inc.

Mortgage Modifiers claimed to help homeowners who were underwater to save their homes by restructuring their debt. But at the hearing, dozens of Lope-Soleta’s creditors accused him of taking thousands of dollars from them and failing to follow through with lenders, causing them to lose their homes or drop deeper into debt.

Calling Lopez-Soleta and Mars-Lopez “Hey, snake!” “Hey slime ball!”, the creditors and their attorneys claimed that the couple stole their money, and instead of using to help them as promised, financed a life of luxury, including expensive vacations, jewelry and other extravagant purchases.

Read the original article in the Press Democrat.

Orange County Attorney Arrested in Mortgage Modification Case

December 5th, 2013 at 10:19pm

An attorney who resigned from the California State Bar in 2009 has been the third defendant arrested in a federal indictment in which he and other are accused of operating a mortgage modification scam.

Ronald Rodis, 49, of Irvine, surrendered on the charges that he “participated in, and lent his name and the law license he formerly possessed to, the fraudulent operation,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bryan D’Antonio, 47, of Brea, and Charles Wayne Farris, 53, of Aliso Viejo were arrested on December 3.

According to the indictment, Ronald Rodis lent his name to the Rodis Law Group, which later became America’s Law Group. Both firms advertised their loan modification services on radio, with Rodis speaking on some of the commercials.

Further, the indictment alleges that “Farris and D’Antonio hired and trained salespeople who allegedly told homeowners that Rodis Law Group was ‘100% successful,’ ‘routinely lowered monthly payments,’ and obtained reduced principal balances. According to the indictment, once the defendants and their co-conspirators convinced homeowners to pay a fee of several thousand dollars, little to no effort was made to obtain loan modifications. After making their payments, homeowners who tried to get updates on the status of their cases were often unable to contact anyone at either company.”

Worse for D’Antonio is that he is facing these charges after previously being convicted of mail fraud and wire fraud in 2003 and being banned from engaging in telemarketing.

All told, the U.S. Attorney alleges that the homeowners lost $12 million to the defendants and many subsequently lost their homes to foreclosure.

Read the original article in Courthouse News.

Three Men Convicted of Operating Fraudulent Mortgage Rescue Service

December 5th, 2013 at 8:45pm

Three Southern California men have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud by a federal jury. The case was tried by the office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

Charles Head, 36; Benjamin Budoff, 46; and Domonic McCarns, 39, were accused by prosecutors of operating a large-scale foreclosure rescue scam. Head was convicted of three additional charges of mail fraud.

Prosecutors presented evidence that Charles Head led the scam under the entities Head Financial Services and Creative Loans. The firms operated from Orange County between March 2005 and June 2006 and received more than $5.7 million from distressed homeowners by promising them they could save their homes.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times to learn how the foreclosure rescue scam operated.

La Jolla Man Gets Five Years for Loan Modification Fraud

November 1st, 2013 at 10:59am

Ian T. Kideys, 49, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Indiana to five years in prison for defrauding homeowners across the U.S., for falsely promising to modify their mortgages. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

The court ordered him to pay $1.4 million in restitution to his victims. This looks like a good deal, since Kidey’s company took in upfront fees of over $3.4 million.

Kideys, of La Jolla, owned K2 Capital Management Inc., which operated under the dual names US Mortgage Bailout and iLoanAudit.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in a news release, “US Mortgage Bailout obtained some mortgage relief for its customers through fraudulent representations to lenders, but otherwise simply collected money — thousands of dollars from each customer. Each customer received a money-back guarantee; few got any money back.”

Read the original article in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Two Men Sentenced to Federal Prison for National Mortgage Rescue Fraud Scheme

September 18th, 2013 at 4:46pm

Two men who operated a nationwide network of businesses that purported to help distressed homeowners but were simply mortgage rescue frauds have been sentenced to federal prison.

Mark S. Farhood, formerly of San Diego, California, and Jason S. Sant of Lecanto, Fla., were sentenced to 11 years and six years, respectively, in addition to terms of supervised released. Each man was also ordered by United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga to forfeit approximately $2 million to the federal government.

Farhood and Sant co-owned and operated Home Advocate Trustees, which also went by the names Walk Away Today, First Equity Trustees, Home Security Consultants, Sell Fast USA, Short Sale Buyer, USA Sell House Fast, and USA Rental Housing.

The remainder of this post is taken from the press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia’s website.

Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement today after sentencing by United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. Farhood and Sant each pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on May 10, 2013.

“Farhood should spend the next 11 years in prison thinking about how he preyed on and cheated 389 distressed homeowners out of their homes by ‘buying’ their homes in fake sales for $10 per property and then renting out the homes for $4 million, which he used to fund construction on his $1 million home in Costa Rica,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP). “Farhood and his co-conspirator Sant, who was sentenced to six years in prison, hid their identities, stole identities of people whose pictures they found on the Internet, and exploited TARP’s housing program by submitting phony applications to stall foreclosures while they rented out the properties. When caught by SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners, Farhood tried to hide the proceeds of his crime, including the Costa Rica house and bags of silver coins, and tried have computer evidence of his crime deleted. SIGTARP will bring to justice all those who commit crimes exploiting the TARP bailout.”

According to court records, Farhood and Sant co-owned Home Advocate Trustees, which also went by the names Walk Away Today, First Equity Trustees, Home Security Consultants, Sell Fast USA, Short Sale Buyer, USA Sell House Fast, and USA Rental Housing. They marketed the businesses nationwide as purchasers of distressed real estate and a means by which vulnerable homeowners could avoid foreclosure and the accompanying negative effects on their credit. The companies told homeowners they were in the business of negotiating with lenders to purchase mortgage notes at a discount and falsely claimed to have been in business for seventeen years, to have experienced a 90 percent success rate in purchasing such notes, and to be the nation’s largest volume buyer of short sale and over-leveraged real estate.

As Sant and Farhood admitted in connection with their pleas, the businesses were a fraud, no such negotiations with lenders ever took place, and the scheme was merely a way for them to take possession of hundreds of residential properties, including homes within the Eastern District of Virginia, at virtually no cost and then reap millions of dollars in profits by renting the homes to unsuspecting tenants.

Farhood and Sant further admitted that as part of the scheme, they submitted fraudulent loan modification applications to mortgage lenders under the Treasury Department’s Making Home Affordable Program in the name of homeowners, without the homeowners’ knowledge or consent. Farhood and Sant used the fraudulent applications to stall foreclosures on the properties under their control and for which no mortgage payments were being made and to maximize the time period during which they could collect rental income.

The homes purportedly sold to Home Advocate Trustees and its related entities ended in foreclosure, harming the participating homeowners and commonly resulting in eviction of the tenants.

This case was investigated by SIGTARP and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Paul J. Nathanson prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

Northern California Woman Arrested in Mortgage Rescue Scam

September 18th, 2013 at 3:45pm

The wife of Alan Tikal, a man awaiting trial for running a mortgage rescue fraud scheme, has been arrested for continuing the scam after her husband’s arrest.

Tamara Tikal, of Brentwood (in Northern California) faces charges as a result of evidence seized by authorities from the Las Vegas office of KATN Trust, Alan Tikal’s business. So has another associate, Jan Kornfeld.

Federal prosecutors said Alan Tikal took in over $3 million from his alleged victims, using a program which offered homeowners in distress lower mortgages by (somehow) covering their current, more expensive mortgages.

 Read the original article in Bay Area News. You can also read the more detailed press release of the allegations by the prosecutor, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

© Copyright 2007-2014 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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