Ruben Hernandez, 34, California, owner of Downey Motorcars, and co-defendant Joel Rodriguez, 45, a California resident, owner of Coast to Coast Mortgage, were sentenced in a mortgage fraud case. Hernandez and Rodriguez were convicted by a jury on May 6, 2010. Hernandez was found guilty of four counts of filing a false application and three counts of grand theft. He received a 12 year sentence. Rodriguez was convicted of six counts of filing a false application and five counts of grand theft. He received a 12 year, 8 month sentence.
Hernandez purchased six properties using false social security information and bank statements. Rodriguez used false social security numbers to purchase two properties, obtain home equity lines of credit and open a bank account.
Rodriguez was arrested shortly after the case was filed in January 2008. Hernandez, however, eluded authorities. About a year later, Hernandez was tracked down to a bungalow in Pasadena, California by Investigator David Ishibashi of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, Investigator Steve Louie of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Deputy U.S. Marshal Sal Reyes.
On Febuary 12, 2009, as Hernandez and his wife, Aida Gutierrez, 24, were coming out of their driveway, authorities moved in. Hernandez, ultimately, was arrested after engaging investigators in a mile-long, 80-mile-per-hour pursuit.
When authorities executed a search warrant on the home where Hernandez was staying, they discovered a voodoo shrine, the prosecutor said. The shrine included various artifacts and voodoo dolls, dunked head first in cups of water with pins in their eyes. The names of the prosecutor, the investigators and the case number were written on the dolls.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito, who presided over the trial and sentencing hearing, ordered Hernandez to return on June 9, 2010. Hernandez faces an additional 28 counts, including charges of grand theft and filing a false application, for allegedly engaging in fraud in his used car dealership.