Tamara Tikal, 45, Rio Vista, California was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for her conviction for conspiring to commit mail fraud in relation to a foreclosure rescue scheme. Tamara Tikal was also ordered to pay $3,671,000 in restitution to victims of the offense by United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley.
Tamara Tikal’s husband Alan Tikal was convicted following a bench trial and sentenced to 24 years in prison. Tamara Tikal pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in August 2014, as did co-defendant Ray Kornfeld, who was sentenced to five years in prison.
According to her plea agreement, between January 2010 and August 2013, Alan Tikal was the principal behind a business known as KATN, which targeted distressed homeowners experiencing difficulties making their existing monthly mortgage payments. Many of the victims did not speak English. Alan Tikal promised to reduce their outstanding mortgage debt by 75 percent, falsely claiming he was a registered private banker with access to an enormous line of credit and the ability to pay off homeowners’ mortgage debts in full. Homeowners were told that in return for various fees and payments, their existing loan obligations would be extinguished, and the homeowners would then owe new loans to Tikal in an amount equaling 25 percent of their original obligation. In reliance upon these misrepresentations, many of these homeowners stopped making payments on their existing mortgage loans and lost their homes to foreclosure as a result.
Tamara Tikal filled a variety of roles in the business, including paying the salaries of various employees, serving as a notary for various documents utilized in furtherance of the scheme, and opening and maintaining post-office boxes and bank accounts that received homeowner payments. She also communicated with individual homeowners, assuring them of the legitimacy of the program.
In fact, the Tikals never made any payments to financial institutions on behalf of homeowners in satisfaction of their pre-existing mortgage debt obligations; the money for the purported “loan” payments were simply spent by the Tikals and their associates for personal use; and there was not a single instance in which a homeowner’s debt was paid, forgiven or otherwise extinguished as a result of the mortgage relief program. In all, more than 1,000 homeowners in California and other states were convinced to participate in the program. As a result of their participation, many homeowners became delinquent on their loans and ultimately had their homes foreclosed upon. Those homeowners paid more than $5,800,000 in fees and monthly payments into the program. Of that, more than $2,500,000 was paid into accounts controlled by the Tikals.
This case was a joint prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the California Attorney General’s Office. It is the product of extensive investigation by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the California Department of Justice, and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the sentenced and Assistant United States Attorney Philip Ferrari and California Deputy Attorney General Maggy Krell prosecuted the case.