Attorney General Brown Sends Perpetrators of Loan Modification Fraud to Prison

Monday, March 9, 2009
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN BERNARDINO -- Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that three individuals have pled guilty to loan modification fraud against hundreds of 'desperate California homeowners' and were sentenced to as much as 6 years of prison.

“While doing nothing to help and pocketing all the money, these individuals ripped off desperate California homeowners who paid thousands of dollars to stop the foreclosure of their homes,” Attorney General Brown said.

The defendants sentenced were part of a foreclosure scam engineered by the First Gov company, which was based in San Bernardino, Calif.

• Rosa Conrado, 51, of San Bernardino, was sentenced today to six years, four months of prison for 6 counts of grand theft.

• Alejandrina Maldonado, 33, of St. Lucie, Fla., was sentenced on February 26, 2009, to a three year prison term for one count of grand theft.

• Martin Jesus Flores, 33, of Baldwin Park, was given three years of probation today based on his limited participation in the scheme.

• David Giron, 44, of Ontario, and Saul Amador, 23, of West Covina are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 19, 2009, for theft, money laundering, and conspiracy.

• Three other members of the ring -- Juan Jose Perez, 48, of Grand Terrace, Isuara Hernandez, 33, of La Habra, and Antonia Gonzalez, 66, of San Bernardino – are believed to have fled the jurisdiction and may be out of the country.

In November 2008, Attorney General Brown announced the break up of the First Gov scam ring. First Gov, -- which also operated under such misleading names such as Foreclosure Prevention Services; Resolution Department; Reinstatement Department; and Reinstatement Processing -- solicited hundreds of homeowners, offering to help them stop the foreclosure of their homes.

Ring members promised victims they would renegotiate their mortgages and reduce monthly payments. They demanded an up-front fee, ranging from $1,500 to $5,000, to participate in the loan-modification program.

Victims were told to stop making mortgage payments and communicating with their lender because this would interfere with the loan modification process. After collecting their fee, ring members pocketed the money and did nothing to help victims.

The action today is part of Attorney General Brown's campaign to fight predatory lending and loan modification scams.

• In March 2008, the Attorney General’s office arrested members of Lifetime Financial Corporation for perpetrating a similar mortgage-modification scam that cheated hundreds of California homeowners out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

• In October 2008, the Attorney General secured $8.6 billion in loan relief for eligible homeowners in a landmark settlement with Countrywide Financial Corporation for engaging in deceptive and predatory lending practices.

The Attorney General has also issued a Consumer Alert regarding foreclosure scam rings and tax reassessment scams. Homeowners should be on high alert when approached by companies offering ways to save your home or lower your property taxes.

The press release announcing the First Gov arrests in November can be found at: http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1627

# # #