Sunday, November 11, 2012

California Jury Belts Loan Modification Scammer With 14 Felony Convictions That Include Grand Theft, Filing Forged Instrument, Foreclosure Consulting Fraud, Money Laundering

In Ventura, California, the Ventura County Star reports:

  • A jury [] found a 66-year-old woman guilty of felonies stemming from a loan modification scheme in which Ventura County homeowners were tricked out of thousands of dollars, according to prosecutors.

    Laura Cecilia Carlson, of Hacienda Heights, faces more than 11 years behind bars. Bailiffs took her into custody after the verdicts were read. In an interview, prosecutor Dominic Kardum said Carlson was convicted of 14 felonies that included foreclosure consulting fraud, grand theft, filing a forged instrument and money laundering.

    Carlson showed no emotion as she stood by her lawyer while the verdicts were read. Carlson, who is a licensed real estate agent, and others were arrested in January 2011.

    Carlson ran the business as Global Team Consulting. She trained employees and collected thousands of dollars in upfront fees from clients after promising to reduce the principal and monthly mortgage payments. Prosecutors say the clients got no services and lost thousands of dollars and their homes.

    Kardum said co-defendant Victoria Santos, of Oxnard, advertised on Spanish-language radio stations to target predominantly Spanish-speaking immigrants.

    There were eight victims, and most lost their homes to foreclosures as a result of the scheme, he said.

    "One victim in particular worked in the strawberry fields in Oxnard, picked strawberries and saved for years and years," Kardum said. "She saved thousands of dollars, bought a home and was actually current in her mortgage payment when she met these defendants, the criminals."

    Victims were told to stop making mortgage payments and pay the fraudulent company. These payments went into Carlson's bank account, from which she withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars, Kardum said.
  • Three co-defendants have been convicted of felonies, Kardum said. They are Santos; Juan Alvarado Cervantes, of Los Angeles; and Felipe Carlos Segovia Castro, of Los Angeles. Margie Joanna Vargas, of Orange, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

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