(Source: USDOJ) ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Five California men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a nationwide home loan modification loan-modificationscam that defrauded over 400 homeowners out of over $3.8 million.

Roscoe Umali, 38; Jefferson Maniscan, 34; Raymund Dacanay, 47; Isaac Perez, 33; and Joshua Johnson, 36, all resided in the greater Los Angeles area. 

According to statements of facts filed with their plea agreements, from at least October 2012 through September 2014, the defendants and their co-conspirators targeted struggling homeowners and made a series of misrepresentations to induce those homeowners to make payments of thousands of dollars in exchange for supposed home loan modification assistance.

Operating under the names of fictional companies like “Equity Restoration Group,” the defendants falsely held themselves out 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. Through mass mailings, phone calls, faxes, and emails with their victims, the defendants convinced homeowners to send them “reinstatement fees” and to make several monthly “trial mortgage payments” to the conspiracy, rather than to the homeowners’ lenders.  The defendants then did nothing to help modify any mortgages.  Instead, they used the victims’ payments for their own personal benefit and to further the fraud scheme.

This scam victimized over 400 individuals and families nationwide, resulting in a total loss of over $3.8 million.  It also resulted in many victims losing their homes, despite the victims’ efforts to modify their mortgages and continue to make payments on their loans.

The defendants were indicted on Oct. 22, 2015, and each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Umali, Maniscan, and Dacanay will be sentenced on June 23, while Perez and Johnson will be sentenced on July 7. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program; and Robert Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Los Angeles Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after the pleas were accepted by Senior U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samantha P. Bateman and James P. Gillis are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15cr301.

SOURCE: USDOJ

Erik Sandstrom
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