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High Profile Convictions

Defendant forged and recorded four grant deeds placing him on title to property formerly owned by him but lost at foreclosure. The residence was sold at a trustee sale to an individual victim. Defendant, who embraced sovereign citizen ideology, engaged in “paper terrorism” by filing frivolous lawsuits against anyone perceived to be opposed to his motives or actions. He believed that his sovereign ideology entitled him to own his former residence without making payments.

Defendant was charged with 26 felony counts and additional special allegations. After a three week trial, Defendant was found guilty of every felony charge and all special allegations were found true. Defendant was sentenced to 25 years in state prison.

In this case, Defendant forged and recorded both a grant deed and homestead declaration to a home she formerly owned but lost at foreclosure. The victim, a company that buys, rehabilitates and then rents homes, purchased the property at trustee sale. Based on the false recordings, Defendant initiated several frivolous civil actions against the victim and its tenant. Victim was also required to file civil actions to protect its property interest. Moreover, police were called to the house numerous times because Defendant trespassed and broke into the property.

After almost three weeks of trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all felony counts and true findings as to the special allegations. Defendant faces over 6 years in state prison.

Defendant preyed upon multiple people who were losing their homes in foreclosure. A priest, an elderly couple who cared for a disabled daughter, and a blind woman who was wheelchair bound were among his victims. Falsely promising loan modifications, Defendant illegally took fees upfront and improperly accepted monthly payments from victims. Using a fake name, Defendant created false trusts into which he transferred title of properties owned by victims.

Defendant was sentenced to state prison for his crimes. Additionally, 14 other defendants were also convicted for their roles in this case. Importantly, actual restitution of $350,000 was retrieved upfront and returned to the victims.

In this securities case, Defendant sold real estate investments in San Bernardino County by falsely representing to victims that each was a first lien holder on a single piece of property. Essentially a real estate “Ponzi” scheme, monies received came from the victims’ investments. Defendant eventually fled to Thailand to escape prosecution but was apprehended and returned back to San Bernardino. Defendant was sentenced to state prison after entering a guilty plea to the court.

The wife of a notorious gang member, Amaya attempted to obtain ownership of property by illegally changing title into her own name. Previously, in a separate criminal case, Amaya’s husband had been arrested and taken into custody. Amaya wanted her husband released from custody and intended to use the illegally obtained property as collateral to pay for the husband’s bail. REF thus charged typical real estate offenses but additionally charged Amaya with a gang enhancement which provided for further time in custody. Defendant pled guilty to her offenses and received a state prison sentenced.

Defendants used the identification of three separate victims to obtain loans on property. Defendants created their own escrow company and stole over a half-million dollars from various mortgage companies. Money laundering charges were utilized that greatly increased bail as well as added to their state prison sentences. Defendant Edwards was sentenced to over twenty years in prison while Defendant Foster received a sentence of over ten years.

Defendant was a sovereign citizen who squatted in a million dollar home he did not own. Due to his verbal expressions of sovereign ideology, lengthy competency issues arose prior to trial. After resolving whether Defendant was competent to stand trial, the case was tried and he was convicted. Defendant was sentenced to over fourteen years in state prison.

Defendant fraudulently transferred title to property by signing grant deeds to over 21 properties owned by five different banks and other financial institutions. Defendant was part of the sovereign citizen movement and incorrectly asserted his ideology driven fraud was legal. Defendant was charged with 65 felony counts consisting of forgery, identity theft, and offering a false instrument charges.

As a result of his sovereign citizen ideology, Defendant engaged in extensive litigation by filing numerous, lengthy and indecipherable motions. His motions also contained threats of arrest and innuendo of harm and violence against the elected District Attorney, the assigned prosecutor, the investigator and a Superior Court judge. Given Defendant’s sovereign citizen background and his aggressive disciples who attended court proceedings, security precautions were put in place for each court appearance. Defendant passed away prior to trial from unrelated medical problems.

Defendant filed false warranty deeds upon various properties owned by individuals who were in different phases of foreclosure. Many of the victims had moved out of their homes attempting to short sale their properties before foreclosure. Taking advantage of the empty homes, defendant recorded deeds in the names of various trusts naming himself as the trustee. Defendant would then place renters in the home and collect funds from those renters. Several of the property owners became aware Defendant’s actions but had no funds to fight him in civil court. Defendant pled guilty to several felony counts and received a state prison sentence.

Defendant victimized her parents who were elderly and Spanish speaking. The parents purchased a home in the high desert. After purchase, Defendant moved in with the victims. She tricked her parents into signing a grant deed transferring the property to her. She initially attempted to record the documents, but was rejected for facial deficiencies on the deed. The parents later learned of the trickery and refused to “fix” the deed for Defendant. She then changed the original document and recorded it.

As part of a plea agreement, Defendant agreed the grant deed was null and void since inception. A subsequent order declaring the deed null and void was signed and certified by the court and later recorded at the Recorder’s Office and placed into the public record.

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It is the mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to represent the interests of the people in the criminal justice system, as mandated by California State law. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office serves the residents of San Bernardino County by: seeking the truth, protecting the innocent; holding the guilty accountable; preserving the dignity of victims and their families; and, ensuring that justice is done while always maintaining the highest ethical standards.

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