Jeremy Michael “Mike” Head, 34, Huntington Beach, California, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a nationwide foreclosure rescue scam. The case began on February 28, 2008, when a grand jury indicted Mike Head, his brother Charles Head, and 14 other defendants with violations of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and other charges. Eleven of Heads co-defendants have entered guilty pleas.
A federal jury found Mike Head guilty in May 2013, after a nearly four-week trial before United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. Charles Head, 40, was sentenced in September 2014, by Judge Mueller to 35 years in prison.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mike Head played an important leadership role in a fraud scheme that promised to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and repair their credit. He recruited and managed other members of the scheme. Through misrepresentations, fraud and forgery, the Head brothers and their associates substituted straw buyers for the victim homeowners on the titles of properties without the homeowners’ knowledge. These straw buyers were often friends and family members of the defendants. Once the straw buyers were on title to the homes, the defendants applied for mortgages to extract the maximum available equity from the homes.
The defendants then shared the proceeds of the ill-gotten equity and the “rent” that the victim homeowners paid them. Ultimately, the victim homeowners were left with no home, no equity, and with damaged credit ratings. Between January 2004 and March 2006, the scam netted more than $15 million in fraudulently obtained funds from scores of homeowners, many of whom were in California.
Charges against the two remaining defendants, Domonic McCarns, 37, Brea, California, and Anh Nguyen, 40, Los Angeles, California, are pending.
United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced the sentence.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Anderson and Matthew Morris are prosecuting the case.
U.S. Attorney Wagner said: “Mike Head made a small fortune taking advantage of victims who looked to him for help. Instead of helping, he stole the last remaining equity in their homes, and many victims were evicted and left destitute. He will now go to prison and pay for his crimes. This office continues to vigorously prosecute multiple variations of mortgage fraud throughout our district.”
“The scheme Head and his co-conspirators devised preyed upon individuals when they were most vulnerable and lived in fear of imminent foreclosure. Despite promises to help their victims avoid foreclosure, many were financially devastated by the scheme,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the Sacramento FBI. “The FBI is committed to thoroughly investigating complex mortgage fraud schemes, identifying all participants, and ensuring that those who have violated the trust of the American public face justice in federal court.”
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to those who commit mortgage fraud, the consequences can be severe,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “The defendants in this case have hurt so many people and so many of our communities. This sentencing highlights IRS-CI’s commitment to hold accountable those involved in these types of crimes.”