Rene Alvarez, 39, Mariano Ortega, 34, both from San Jose, California, and Cydney Sanchez, 60, Los Angeles, California, have been charged in an 83 count indictment charging them with defrauding 45 homeowners in eight northern California counties over a one year period. Those victims were part of a larger scheme that involved the theft of over $2 million from more than 400 homeowners from seven different states, most of whom were from California.
As previously reported on Mortgage Fraud Blog, from 2008 through 2009, Alvarez and Ortega owned and operated M & R Contemporary Solutions, Inc, a Campbell, California foreclosure consulting firm. Sanchez owned and operated West Coast Mortgage and Horizon Property Holdings of Beverly Hills. M & R recruited over 400 mainly Hispanic homeowners, who were in various stages of the foreclosure process, by pitching a “principal reduction” program. Homeowners were told that M & R would save their residences from foreclosure by facilitating the purchase of their existing lender’s loan by a third party at a discounted price. Ostensibly, Sanchez was to provide the investors to purchase the loans. The homeowners were then to be offered a new reduced principal loan that would have significantly lower monthly payments. According to the homeowners and numerous ex-employees of M & R, no homeowners were ever helped in this manner. In many instances, homeowners paid $10,000 for the loan buying scheme even though they had already lost title to their homes via trustee sales. M & R collected thousands of dollars in up front fees from each homeowner in foreclosure, which is a felony under California law regulating the conduct of foreclosure consultants.
M & R’s bank accounts have been frozen via court order for possible payment of restitution and fines pending further court action. A trial date has not yet been set. In September 2009, a felony complaint was filed by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office against Alvarez and Ortega relating to the same scheme.