Wednesday, February 6, 2013

L.A. Feds Indict Pair In Alleged Mortgage Elimination Scam Based On Sovereign Citizen Arguments

In Los Angeles, California, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports:

  • In at early morning raid at a Cello Drive home, FBI agents Wednesday arrested a Diamond Bar man in connection with a scheme that allegedly defrauded as many as 400 people who paid into a mortgage debt elimination scheme, officials said.

    Jude Lopez was taken into custody without incident, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. [...] A woman, identified as Marcela Gonzalez, was also indicted by authorities in connection with the mortgage debt elimination scheme. She is suspected of six counts of mail fraud, Eimiller said.

    "Investigators believe approximately 400 clients were defrauded of approximately $5 million over approximately two years," Eimiller said. "(The) defendants allegedly pitched a `sovereign citizen' argument to homeowners, suggesting that the original liens were invalid."
  • Court documents indicate the FBI, the Montebello Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department were involved in the investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office asked that Lopez be held as a flight risk, according to court documents.

    Prosecutors allege that Lopez, working on behalf of a company identified as Crown Point, filed bankruptcy paperwork for Crown Point clients. The paperwork was intended to delay foreclosure proceedings, officials said.

    "From at least in or about September 2010, through in or about May 2012, defendant Lopez who was not a lawyer prepared and filed, and caused to be prepared and filed, legal papers including ... bankruptcy petitions on behalf of clients in order to delay foreclosure and eviction actions."

    The complaints alleges that in some cases Lopez filed paperwork without the client's knowledge. Some of the petitions contained forged signatures, according to court documents.

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