Blanca Sanchez, aka Blanca Maciel, Salinas, California, was found guilty of 13 felonies arising from her “foreclosure rescue scam” when she posed as a licensed professional and stole thousands of dollars from struggling Hispanic homeowners between 2008 and 2010.
After the jury delivered its verdict on Friday, September 28, 2012, Judge Mark Hood granted the District Attorney’s request that Sanchez be remanded pending sentencing on October 30th. Four of the felonies involve residential burglary, making the convictions count as priors under the Three Strikes Law. Sanchez faces a possible 16-year prison term.
The criminal case began in December 2010 when Salinas Police arrested Sanchez after a search of her home uncovered evidence that she was running an unlicensed loan modification business. Thousands of pages of documents were discovered, including marketing materials used to convince homeowners that she was a qualified, licensed professional. Following the arrest, more homeowners came forward with the same complaint. The District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit took over the investigation and filed charges, including residential burglary and felony grand theft.
During an 8-day jury trial, the prosecution presented testimony from Hispanic homeowners. Those homeowners recounted allowing Sanchez into their homes believing her claim that she was licensed. They were then persuaded into paying her thousands of dollars on the belief that she would stop foreclosure proceedings and/or persuade their lenders to lower their monthly mortgage payments. Even after paying the initial fees, Sanchez would frequently return, asking for more money for necessary additional services, like paying “delinquent” property taxes. When the victims asked about the status of the modification, Sanchez routinely assured them that the modification was complete without providing any written corroboration.
Typically, Sanchez just abandoned her victims after taking them for thousands of dollars. Some victims recalled trying to call her phone number only to be told it was disconnected. All but one of the victims lost their homes to foreclosure.
Monterey County District Attorney Dean D. Flippo announced the jury’s verdict.
After the verdict, District Attorney Dean Flippo stated that, “My office will continue to prosecute real estate scam artists as serious criminals and, when appropriate, we will seek prison sentences.”
The case was handled by Deputy District Attorney John Hubanks from the Real Estate Fraud Unit, along with District Attorney Investigators Alicia Cox and Manuel Infante and Legal Assistant Louis Santa Ana.