SANTA ANA – Seven defendants have been charged in connection with a Tustin and Santa Ana-based mortgage fraud program that prosecutors say ripped off 79 victims of approximately $ 247,000.
Natalie Nava, 36; Amir Choshnevis, 35; Aaron Pierson, 33; Alejandra Orozco, 27; Maria De La Paz, 24; Payom Ilkhanipour, 34; and Ryan Pelzer, 30, face multiple charges of conspiracy, money laundering and aggravated theft, with the penalty increased for serious white-collar crime to 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 and debt consolidation counseling, Orange County District Attorney investigator Henry C. Griffin Jr. said in court records.
The defendants lied to homeowners for getting a low-interest mortgage and after providing homeowners with a ‘payment program’ they requested and received those prepayments before a mortgage modification was approved, “Griffin said.
“The length of time that RCS has been in has been relatively short, from April 2018 to July 2018, due to a phone call I made with RCS in July 2018 to question the legality of their foreclosure advisory services,” Griffin said.
After the call, the defendants shut down anything “that made it impossible for homeowners to contact anyone at RCS,” Griffin said.
In those few months, the defendants raised about $ 247,000 from 79 victims in illegal advance fees, Griffin alleged.
Khoshnevis, Pierson and Pelzer were considered refugees and, according to court records, had not yet been arrested. The other defendants were due to be charged on August 5th.