SAN DIEGO – California Department of Justice special agents teamed up with local and federal law enforcement to bust six people suspected of operating a mortgage fraud scheme throughout Southern California.
The six suspects were recently indicted and arrested on 135 felony charges. According to the investigation, they preyed on homeowners facing foreclosure, promising homeowners that they could provide legal remedies to avoid foreclosure. The suspects allegedly convinced homeowners to stop making mortgage payments and instead pay them $3,500 to start with an “administrative process,” plus $1,000 every month and separate 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 loses while failing to halt any foreclosures. The fraud stretched through San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties.
"Facing foreclosure is a frightening thing for homeowners," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "For scam artists to prey on that fright and possible loss is despicable. Special agents teamed with other law enforcement agencies to investigate these suspects and put a stop to their illegal activity."
- Jacob Orona,
- Aide Orona,
- John Contreras,
- Prakashumar ("Kash") Bhakta,
- Marcus Robinson,
- and David Boyd.
If convicted, Jacob and Aide Orona face more than 90 years in prison; Contreras and Prakashkumar face more than 70 years in prison; Robinson faces more than 28 years in prison, and Boyd faces more than 18 years in prison.
The arrests and arraignments are the culmination of a joint investigation by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General (FHFAOIG), the Attorney General’s Financial Fraud and Special Prosecutions Section (FFSPS), the California Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, Real Estate Fraud Unit.