The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) announced this week that three California residents were sentenced to a combined 39 years in prison for their roles in a nationwide loan modification scam that raked in approximately $11 million from the homeowner victims.

The defendants in this case were convicted by a federal jury on April 21, of multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and they received some of the harshest sentences that I have seen in my 10 years of reporting on these crimes.

Sammy Araya, 41, of Santa Ana, was sentenced to 20 years, Michael Henderson, 49, of Costa Mesa, was sentenced to 12 years, and Jen Seko, 36, of Anaheim, was sentenced to 7 years in prison, respectively.

The defendants operated the scam from at least March 2011 through September 2014. Araya and his co-conspirators had marketed their sham loan modification business to struggling homeowners by making false statements in order to get them to make payments of thousands of dollars each to the defendants in exchange for supposed “mortgage modification” assistance.

The conspirators used the U.S Postal Service to mail letters to homeowners who were delinquent on their mortgage payments through Seko’s company, Seko Direct Marketing. The scammers falsely represented themselves as a non-profit organization or as affiliated with a real government program, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), designed to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

According to the USDOJ, Henderson and other employees enticed victims to send “reinstatement fees” and “trial mortgage payments” to the conspiracy, based on the lies that the funds would be used to modify their home loans.

The USDOJ said that the defendants did nothing to help modify any mortgages. Instead, they used the victims’ cash to fund their own personal needs and extravagant purchases.

For example, Sammy Araya, the criminal mastermind behind the scheme and used the millions made from the fraud to fund his fake lavish lifestyle by buying expensive cars, a racehorse, and many other luxury goods, as well as to fund his personal travel and a reality television show he produced called “Make It Rain.TV.”

Araya took on the stage name of “The Boss Man Samaraii” in these videos acting as if he was helping the East LA. community by throwing money above their heads and make them chase it like fools. The true reality was the fact that he was stealing from hard working Americans all across the country to fund his lavish lifestyle and make it rain with stolen cash.

A total of twelve defendants have been convicted in connection with this same scam. They include the following individuals:

Name, Age

Hometown

Conviction

Sentence

Sammy Araya, 41

Santa Ana, California

Convicted on Counts 1-11 of superseding indictment on April 2

Sentenced to 20 years today

Michael Henderson, 49

Costa Mesa, California

Convicted on Counts 1-6 and 9-11 of superseding indictment on April 21

Sentenced to 12 years today

Jen Seko, 36

Anaheim, California

Convicted on Counts 1-6 and 9-11 of superseding indictment on April 21

Sentenced to 7 years today

Roscoe Umali, 38

Santa Ana, California

Pleaded guilty March 22, 2016

220 months in prison on Aug. 18, 2016

Joshua Sanchez, 37

Las Vegas, Nevada

Pleaded guilty July 8, 2015

151 months in prison on Oct. 29, 2015

Kristen Ayala, 32

Las Vegas, Nevada

Pleaded guilty August 4, 2015

135 months in prison on Oct. 29, 2015

Isaac Perez, 33

Los Angeles

Pleaded guilty March 30, 2016

130 months in prison on Sept. 1, 2016

Joshua Johnson, 36

Huntington Beach, California

Pleaded guilty March 30, 2016

121 months in prison on July 7, 2016

Jefferson Maniscan, 34

Los Angeles

Pleaded guilty March 29, 2016

120 months in prison on Aug. 18, 2016

Nicholas Estilow, 34

Mission Viejo, California

Pleaded guilty January 18

80 months in prison on June 1

 

Raymund Dacanay, 47

Newport Beach, California

Pleaded guilty March 29, 2016

60 months in prison on July 21, 2016

Sabrina Rafo, 24

Garden Grove, California

Pleaded guilty January 19

60 months in prison on June 1

 

 

Moe Bedard
My name is Maurice "Moe" Bedard. I am the founder of America's #1 Mortgage Forum, LoanSafe.org. My online work has been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Fox Business, and many other media publications.