Michael Theodore Pines, 59, San Diego, California, and Rene Hector Zepeda, 72, Newport Beach, California, an attorney and former homeowner were arraigned for attempting to illegally break into a foreclosed Newport Coast, California home. The defendants are charged with one misdemeanor count each of vandalism, second degree burglary, and the unauthorized entry of a dwelling. Pines faces an additional misdemeanor count for resisting and obstructing an officer. If convicted, both defendants face a maximum sentence of one year in jail and up to $10,000 in fines. They turned themselves into court on a warrant and are scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on June 20, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-13, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
Zepeda is accused of owning a home at 19 Coral Cay, Newport Coast, California, until July 2009, when he lost the home to foreclosure. In 2010, Zepeda is accused of retaining Pines as his attorney.
Without making any attempt to undo the foreclosure or file any case to prove the foreclosure was defective, Pines is accused of incorrectly advising Zepeda that the foreclosure was illegal. Pines is accused of instructing Zepeda to break in and physically repossess the home.
Pines is accused of then contacting the media and a real estate agent hired by the bank as trustee for the foreclosed home and informing them that Pines and Zepeda would be taking possession of the home on Oct. 13, 2010. The agent contacted the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD), who investigated this case.
On the morning of Oct. 13, 2010, Pines and Zepeda are accused of arriving at the Newport Beach home with a locksmith with the intention of breaking into the house. NBPD advised the defendants that they could be arrested if they illegally entered the property, which was now owned by the bank.
In front of the officers, Pines is accused of instructing Zepeda to ignore the officers’ warning and break into the home. Zepeda and Pines are accused of then breaking a window with the intention of gaining entrance into the house. Both defendants were arrested, cited, and released.
Pines is an attorney whose license was suspended in May 2011. He is also facing criminal charges in separate cases in Ventura and San Diego Counties.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce of the Real Estate Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.