Carlos Mendez Torres, 29, his father, Manuel Patlan Torres, 60, associates Oscar Alvarez Macias, 35, and John Anthony Zepeda, 59, all of San Bernardino, California, were charged with numerous counts of felony real estate fraud on October 20, 2010. The suspects were involved in a multiple-jurisdictional foreclosure scheme known as the David Zepeda Trustee Foreclosure Scam, which claimed hundreds of victims in San Bernardino County.
On Thursday, October 21, 2010, Investigators arrested Carlos Torres, Manuel Torres, and Oscar Macias. John Zepeda has been in custody since Thursday, September 2, 2010, facing criminal charges in San Diego County. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department was notified regarding the outstanding felony arrest warrant issued for him in San Bernardino County.
Investigators from the San Bernardino County, California, District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Unit first became aware of the foreclosure scam in late August 2010, after receiving a call from a local real estate agent. During the criminal investigation, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office was contacted by the San Diego District Attorney Office, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department, Commercial Crimes, Real Estate Fraud Unit regarding the scam. The San Bernardino County Recorder’s Office assisted investigators with the criminal investigation by identifying those quitclaim deeds that had been fraudulently recorded at their office by the suspects. The investigation disclosed that two of the San Bernardino County properties belonged to law enforcement officers, who were unaware that their names had been forged on quitclaim deeds, or their properties had been rented out.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Unit filed the charges. This is an ongoing criminal investigation that includes other law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. More arrests are expected in this case. There are victims in Riverside, Bakersfield, Fresno, California, and Clark County, Nevada. If a person feels they have been a victim of this scam, they are urged to contact law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office in their county.