Arrests made in Massive Loan Modification scam

LAPD detectives arrested nine people on the morning of October 17th in association with a massive loan modification scam that cost 65 victims over $1 million dollars.

The eleven suspects have been identified as Nino Vera, Tony Haschke, Franklin Marquez, Eduardo Teran, Corina Castillo, Daniel Argueta, Susana Vasquez, Jimmy Alvarez, Gustavo Vargas, Octavio Ponce, and Juan Diego Perez. All were arrested for Conspiracy to Commit a Crime.

David Zepeda, John Zepeda, Rene Solis, and Hector Menendez had felony complaints filed against them while they were in custody in San Diego and Ventura counties. Additionally, detectives are still searching for several outstanding suspects.

The Zepeda brothers ran their loan scam operation out of this San Bernardino office building at one time.

The scheme was originally started by David Zepeda and his brother John when they founded SB Management in San Bernardino and San Diego counties sometime in 2008 or 2009. SB Management began to target Spanish-speaking victims with the use of referrals, Internet searches of home foreclosure notices, and radio advertising.

Once victims made contact with SB Management, they were instructed to pay large upfront fees to join a fictitious loan reduction program.

After joining, victims paid the fraudulent company monthly payments to stay in their homes as caretakers with the promise that SB Management would negotiate with banks to reduce their loan principle balance and monthly payments by approximately 50%. Many of the Spanish speaking victims were asked to sign contracts or paperwork in English.

Despite paying thousands of dollars in ongoing fees, SB Management never rendered any of their promised services. Instead, the victim’s money was deposited into multiple bank accounts and the suspects were paid in large commissions.

Investigators found evidence that SB Management never made any payments toward the victims’ loans, communicated infrequently if at all with banks and lenders, nor negotiated on behalf of the their supposed clientele. Consequently, many of the victims received Notices of Default or lost their homes due to foreclosure.

Besides giving their sales agents commissions and paying their employees, the money illegally obtained from the victims went directly into the accounts of the fraudulent business operation’s leadership, including the Zepeda brothers, Solis, Marquez, and Sally Samaris.

At its height, the scam was spread across several counties, with 10-12 separate offices located in Los Angeles including SB Management, Financial Wellness for Homeowners of Los Angeles County Corporation (FWHLA), California Sky Premier, Zap Group Legal, Majestic Group, El Camino Marketing, and J & E Services. The scam was even able to survive the arrest of the Zepeda brothers in September of 2010, simply transferring leadership duties to Solis.

The LAPD Media Relations Section is not releasing any more information at this time.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Commercial Crimes Division, Detective Ernest Munoz at 213-486-8714.  During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips.”

Read More:

CBS Los Angeles: 15 Arrested, Charged In Loan Modification Scam Targeting Spanish-Speaking Homeowners

Contra Costa Times: Loan scam that targets mostly Spanish-speaking victims nets 11 SoCal arrests

Press Enterprise: San Bernardino brothers charged in foreclosure fraud

Arrests made in Massive Loan Modification scam was last modified: January 11th, 2019 by admin
Tags: fraud, loan scam

About Author

Antonio Sierra

Antonio Sierra is a recent graduate of UC Merced. In addition to his work with CrimeVoice, he has also written for the Merced Sun- Star and is a freelance writer and reporter.