The Morning Report
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Ten defendants associated with an alleged foreclosure rescue scam were indicted today by a grand jury on more than 150 felony counts, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced this afternoon.
|Diego Gil, William Hutchings and Edgar Martinez are among 10 defendants indicted today in connection with an alleged foreclosure rescue scam. Photo: Sam Hodgson|
The indictments stem from the case we told you about last year, in which a network of defendants allegedly promised homeowners they could save their houses from foreclosure. Here’s more from that story:
… Hutchings had called his plan a land grant program, peppering his presentation with maps and vague references to land grant transfers, antiquated property maneuvers used hundreds of years ago when the United States was still assembling land from other countries. Hutchings told the homeowners the program would allow them to deed over their property to the company, which would shield it from foreclosure. …
The homeowners thought they were being rescued. But, according to law enforcement officials, Hutchings’ program was a scam, a complicated scheme used to trick hundreds of homeowners into deeding over their houses and paying to the company upfront fees or monthly rents to stay in the house. The homeowners from that night number among nearly 400 other San Diego County homeowners who deeded over their properties to Hutchings, Martinez, and three other defendants in an alleged foreclosure rescue scam stretching back to January 2006.
Neither the homeowners who leased their homes back from the defendants — nor those who paid upfront fees — were typically able to avoid foreclosure under the program, prosecutors say. They were evicted as soon as the foreclosure proceedings were complete. Here’s more on some of those desperate homeowners.
The 10 defendants were arraigned today on charges of conspiracy, grand theft and deceitful practices as foreclosure consultants. Here’s a list of the defendants, from the DA’s press release:
William Hutchings, 62; Xiaoke Li, 43; both of San Diego (Scripps Ranch); Edgar Martinez, 30; Diego Gil, 38, Shawna Landis, 29; of Sorrento Valley, Octavio Escatel, 29; Joel E. Garcia, 26; Stephen P. Mauer, 54; Rose M. Napoli, 34; and Alex Olmos, 39.
If convicted, the defendants face from three to 25 or more years in prison.
The defendants’ assets were frozen to preserve them for restitution to the victims, should a financial award be made in court.