Thursday, June 6, 2013

Nevada AG Charges 8 In Alleged Ripoff That Peddled Worthless "Sovereignty" Paperwork To Purportedly Eliminate Home Loans For 96 Homeowners; 75-Year Old Suspect Wins Race To Prosecutor's Office, Bailing Out On Cohorts, Copping Quick Plea & Agreeing To Cooperate With Investigators

From the Office of the Nevada Attorney General:

  • Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced the arraignment of three defendants who were recently indicted for their involvement in a mortgage fraud scam targeting the Hispanic community in Southern Nevada.
  • Defendants Yanay Aguirre, 24 of Las Vegas, Maria Lorena Anzu, 39 in custody in the Clark County Detention Center, Jose Benjamin Rodriguez, 39 (whereabouts unknown), Rodolfo Cruz, 75 of Las Vegas, Silvia Patricia De La Cruz, 34 (whereabouts unknown), Franklin David Marquez, 49 in custody in Los Angeles County Jail, Jose Gilberto Navidad, 54 in custody in the Clark County Detention Center, and Roberto Vargas, 51 of Hesperia, California, have each been charged with multiple counts of mortgage lending fraud and theft. In addition defendants Rodriguez and Anzu have been charged with bribing or intimidating a witness to influence testimony.

    Defendant Rodolfo Cruz has already entered a plea to a reduced charge and is cooperating with the investigation.(1)  Aguirre and Navidad made their initial appearances in court today, along with Anzu who was re-arraigned on a new indictment. All defendants plead not guilty, and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

    The group, operated under the business names Majestic Group, LLC, and Nevada Sky Premier, LLC. They falsely promised to eliminate mortgage debts for approximately 96 distressed homeowners who in total as a group paid nearly $1.5 million dollars for help that they never received.

    Instead of legitimately working on behalf of the homeowners, worthless “sovereignty” paperwork was sent to lenders—paperwork that did nothing to affect the mortgage of a single homeowner.

    Distressed homeowners were recruited from seminars to participate in the company’s “new start”, “principle reduction”, or “foreclosure back” programs that promised, in exchange for fees, that Majestic Group or its later named counterpart Nevada Sky, would eliminate the homeowners’ mortgage woes within six to nine months through a process that involved quit-claiming their property over to a trust.

    Victims were told that a secret group of investors would purchase all of the homes owned by the trust at a substantially reduced cost and then restore the victims to ownership in their respective homes. The company failed to tell distressed homeowners that their scheme did not work. Many of the company’s clients lost their houses to foreclosure and were evicted from their houses as a result of the scheme.

    The company even went to far as to file inappropriate bankruptcy documents in the names of some Majestic Group clients to delay foreclosure and eviction, in many cases without the knowledge or consent of the client.

    The AG’s office is seeking the public’s help to locate Jose Benjamin Rodriguez (also known as Ben Rodriguez). Investigators describe the suspect as a 39 year old Hispanic male, 5'6 tall, weighing between 165 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.
For the Nevada AG press release, see Attorney General Masto Announces Arraignment of Defendants Indicted for Involvement in a Mortgage Fraud Scam Targeting the Hispanic Community (AG’s Office Seeks Public’s Help in Locating Suspect on the Run).

For the indictment, see State of Nevada v. Rodriguez, et al.

(1) "When a conspiracy is exposed by an arrest or execution of search warrants, soon-to-be defendants know that the first one to "belly up" and tell what he knows receives the best deal. The pressure is to bargain and bargain early, even if an indictment has not been filed." United States v. Moody, 206 F.3d 609, 617 (6th Cir. 2000) (Wiseman, J., concurring) (referring to the not-uncommon 'race to the prosecutor's office' that breaks out among participants in an 'about-to-fall-apart' criminal conspiracy).

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