Hector Ricardo Esquivel, San Jose, California, a former real estate agent, was sentenced to one year in jail for six felony counts of grand theft for defrauding homeowners in a loan modification scam.
Esquivel solicited victims from Santa Clara County, California and beyond between May 2008 and May 2009. Victims lost thousands of dollars in the scam. After a thorough investigation by the San Jose Police Department, Mr. Esquivel was arrested in May 2009.
Mr. Esquivel was working as a real estate agent after his license had been revoked. He solicited primarily monolingual Spanish speaking homeowners and offered loan modification services, charging the homeowners thousands of dollars without providing any services. Several homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure. In addition to a one year jail term, Mr. Esquivel was ordered to pay $23,600 in restitution to his victims. He is also prohibited from working in the real estate or financial sector for the next three years.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office wants to let homeowners know that it is currently illegal for anyone to charge advance fees for loan modification services. Fees can only be charged after the services are completed.