Larry Smith - Increasingly of Local Foreclosure Scam Sought
Increasingly of Local Foreclosure Scam Sought
San Diego California
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis Wednesday asked for the public's help in finding any additional victims of a foreclosure scam that targeted San Diego County's Filipino community.
The scam, which operated from 2007 to 2008, involved homeowners being sold bogus "land patents" under the guise that they would protect properties from foreclosure. Six defendants have been charged in the scam, which bilked at least 20 homeowners out of more than $100,000, according to the district attorney's office.
"The victims in this case were desperate to save their homes from foreclosure," Dumanis stated. "They were preyed upon by these con artists, who promised help but instead stole their money."
The alleged mastermind of the scam, Larry Smith, 61, is charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft and deceitful practices in acting as a mortgage foreclosure consultant. If convicted, he faces 37 years to life in prison.
Smith and other defendants allegedly told homeowners that once they bought a land patent, they could pay just 10 percent of their mortgage payment each month and force the lenders to re-contract their loan amounts.
Also charged in the conspiracy are Maria Candida Capa, 45; Margarita Gaviola, 47; Jessica Refuerzo, 55; Julia Whittingham, 47; and Edgardo Orcino, 57.
Capa and Gaviola were managers for At Home Consulting Group, where many of the land patent presentations were pitched, according to the district attorney's office.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for June 15. A judge will determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial based on the evidence presented.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim in the case is asked to call the district attorney's office at 619-531-4475.
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