7 charged in OC mortgage fraud scheme – Orange County Register | #phishing | #scams

SANTA ANA — Seven defendants have been charged in connection with a Tustin- and Santa Ana-based mortgage fraud scheme that prosecutors say ripped off 79 victims of about $247,000.

Natalie Nava, 36; Amir Khoshnevis, 35; Aaron Pierson, 33; Alejandra Orozco, 27; Maria De La Paz, 24; Payom Ilkhanipour, 34; and Ryan Pelzer, 30, are charged with multiple felony counts of conspiracy, money laundering and grand theft with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime between $100,000 and $500,000.

The defendants worked for Regional Community Services, which had offices in Tustin and Santa Ana, and illegally offered mortgage foreclosure consulting and debt consolidation, Orange County District Attorney’s Office investigator Henry C. Griffin Jr. said in court papers.

The defendants “lied to the homeowners about obtaining a low-interest mortgage, and after providing the homeowners with a `payment program’ they requested and received these advance payments before a mortgage modification was approved,” Griffin said.

“The span in which RCS operated was relatively short, from the period of April 2018 to July 2018, because of a phone call I made to RCS in July 2018 questioning the legality of their foreclosure-consultant services,” Griffin said.

After the call, the defendants shut everything down, “making it impossible for the homeowners to reach anyone at RCS,” Griffin said.

In those few months, the defendants collected about $247,000 from 79 victims in illegal advance fees, Griffin alleged.

Khoshnevis, Pierson and Pelzer were considered fugitives and had not been arrested yet, according to court records. The other defendants were scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 5.

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