Thursday, October 15, 2015

Co-Owner Of Loan Modification Boiler Room Operation Gets 20 Years For Role In Fleecing 4,000+ Homeowners Out Of $7M+ For Services That Were Never Provided

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Los Angeles, California):
  • Four people who worked at a Rancho Cucamonga business that offered bogus loan modification programs to thousands of financially distressed homeowners – victims who lost more than $7 million when they paid for services that were never provided – were sentenced [] to federal prison, with one of the leaders of the scheme being ordered to spend 20 years in custody.

    The Southland residents sentenced [] were convicted of federal fraud charges for their roles in a telemarketing operation known under a series of names – including 21st Century Legal Services, Inc. – that bilked more than 4,000 homeowners across the nation, many of whom lost their homes to foreclosure.

    The defendants sentenced [] by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips were:

    • Christopher Paul George, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga, a co-owner of 21st Century, who was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison;

    • Crystal Taiwana Buck, 40, of Long Beach, a sales “closer” who persuaded numerous victims to pay fees to 21st Century, who received a sentence of five years;

    • Albert DiRoberto, 62, of Fullerton, who handled both sales and marketing – which included making a commercial for 21st Century and preparing talking points to respond to negative publicity – was sentenced to five years in prison; and

    • Yadira Garcia Padilla, 38, of Rancho Cucamonga – who handled client complaints and refund requests, and who posted bogus positive reviews about 21st Century on the Internet – was sentenced to four years in prison.

    George, Buck and DiRoberto were sentenced after being found guilty by a federal jury in June on various fraud charges. Padilla pleaded guilty in 2013.

    In addition to the prison term, Judge Phillips today ordered George to pay $7,065,117 in restitution to victims of the scam. Buck, DiRoberto and Padilla were ordered to return to court next month for restitution hearings.

    A total of 11 defendants linked to 21st Century have been convicted of federal fraud charges as a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; IRS - Criminal Investigation; the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.
For more, see 4 Involved in Inland Empire Loan Modification Scam that Targeted Financially Distressed Homeowners Sentenced to Federal Prison (Co-Owner of 21st Century Legal Services Receives 20-Year Prison Term).