Theft, forgery, notary fraud and the recording of false documents. It is all laid out in a 57-count complaint that resulted in the arrests of three people accused in a mortgage fraud scheme that targeted homeowners in Northern California.
"Cracking open a case like this is labor intensive, it takes time, focus and persistence," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). "Our CSLEA members who are special agents in the Department of Justice never waiver from protecting us from harm, be it firearm or financial."
The felony complaint alleges:
Ronald Vernon Cupp, 58, of Santa Rosa, deceived homeowners by falsely advertising a way to "kill" their mortgage debt .
Randall Gilbert Heyden, 69, of San Rafael assisted Cupp.
Angelle Wertz, 38, of Santa Rosa, a public notary, certified phony legal documents.
According to a press release from the Office of Attorney General: "Through Cupp’s business, North Bay Trust Services, homeowners would often allegedly pay upfront fees of between $1,000 and $10,000 and sign a promissory note or new mortgage for a phony offer to eliminate their mortgage debt. Requiring up-front fees is illegal in California. The suspects would then allegedly record fraudulent documentation purporting to be the attorney for the homeowner’s actual lender and then relinquish the mortgage and record a new deed of trust in favor of North Bay Trust Services. The debt to the original lender was never actually satisfied."
In addition to the arrests, six websites used in the alleged scheme have been seized and redirected to the California Attorney General's website.