February 6, 2009
Ten people have been indicted by the Grand Jury on a huge real estate fraud scheme that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims. The scam was discovered last summer after the suspects victimized some 400 homeowners
The defendants preyed on mostly non-English speaking, Hispanic homeowners who were in foreclosure, claiming to offer assistance through a land grant. The defendants used the business names of Federal Land Grant Company; Land Grant Services; and KBS Resources.
Arraigned in Superior Court today on charges of conspiracy, grand theft, and deceitful practices as foreclosure consultants were William Hutchings, Xiaoke Li, both of San Diego; Edgar Martinez, Diego Gil, Shawna Landis, of Sorrento Valley, Octavio Escatel, Joel E. Garcia, Stephen P. Mauer, Rose M. Napoli, and Alex Olmos, 39. If convicted, the defendants face from three to 25 or more years in prison.
Two methods were used for inducing owners of residences in foreclosure to participate in a so-called land grant program. One method required homeowners to pay a one-time fee of up to $10,000 to put their property in a land grant. The second method was a lease back scheme. In both scenarios, the homeowner was typically evicted from their property at the completion of foreclosure proceedings and retained no legally recognized title to their property.