Indictments Handed Down, Arrest Warrants Gone Out In San Diego "Land Patent" Foreclosure Rescue Scam; Add'l 12 Suspects Charged
In San Diego, California, XETV-TV Channel 6 reports:
- An indictment was unsealed Monday charging 18 people in a scam in which homeowners were falsely told that "land patents" would protect their properties from foreclosure.
Six of the defendants -- Larry Smith, Maria Candida Capa, Margarita Gaviola, Jessica Refuerzo, Julita Whittingham and Edgardo Orcino -- were already charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit grand theft, grand theft and conspiracy to do a deceitful practice while acting as a mortgage foreclosure consultant.
The defendants are also charged with allegation that the amount of money lost in the mortgage foreclosure scam exceeded $200,000. Smith, Capa, Gaviola, Refuerzo, Whittingham and Orcino pleaded not guilty today at their Superior Court arraignment. They will be back in court July 20 for a status conference.
Arrest warrants have gone out for the remaining 12 defendants named in the indictment, said Deputy District Attorney Marlene Coyne. They face similar charges to the original six defendants, Coyne said.
More than 20 alleged victims have come forward saying they lost tens of thousands of dollars in the real estate scam in 2007 and 2008. Prosecutors allege the defendants sold the bogus "land patents" to homeowners, claiming the victims could pay only 10 percent of their mortgage payment each month and could force lenders to "re-contract" the loan amounts.
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