In the largest loan modification scheme ever prosecuted in the country, seven defendants were indicted this week for defrauding $13.5 million from more than 3,500 victims, according to authorities.
A statement was released jointly by the Orange County District Attorney and Newport Beach Police Department on Thursday.
NBPD began investigating the case in August 2012 after victims reported the scam. Police arrested five of the defendants on May 14. The remaining two are fugitives and have warrants out for their arrest.
Maziar Bordbar, 31, of Irvine, Nathaniel Ferrer, 26, of Orange, Pamela Gressier, 54, of Huntington Beach, Saeid Yarandi, 31, of Irvine, Roberto Duran, 41, of Montebello, Masood Taghizadeh, 64, of Laguna Niguel, and Joel Valdellon, 31, of Dana Point, have all been charged.
Charges include conspiracy to commit a crime, conspiracy to defraud another of property, grand theft, theft from an elder, money laundering, unlawful monetary transaction structuring, filing false tax returns, willful failure to file or make a fraudulent tax return,
There are also many sentencing enhancements, which include committing an aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and another for over $500,000, property damage or loss over $65,000, property loss over $200,000, property damage over $1.3 million, money laundering exceeding $50,000 and three more for exceeding $150,000, $1 million and $2.5 million, and committing a theft exceeding $100,000.
Between Nov. 16, 2010, and June 6, 2011, Bordbar and Yarandi are accused of incorporating Consult Marketing Group, Inc. and Secured Processing, Inc. Between June 24, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2012, Gressier is accused of filing a fictitious business name statement doing business as Prudential Law Group, Remedy Law, and Remedy Center Law.
At the time of the crime, Gressier was a licensed attorney and practicing law in California.
Bordbar, Yarandi, Ferrer, and Gressier are accused of operating Prudential Law Group which later became known as Prudent Law Group (Prudent Law). Bordbar, Yarandi, Ferrer, and Gressier are accused of changing the company name from Prudent Law to Remedy Center Law and various other similar names, and establishing a website for Prudent Law and Remedy Law to advertise loan modification services.
They reportedly sent mailings to thousands of homeowners advertising loan modification services and hired telemarketers to work as salespersons for homeowners calling in response to the advertisements, according to the statement.
The defendants falsely misrepresented to customers that they qualify for a loan modification, when the defendants had no ability or authority to represent the victims on behalf of the lender, according to the DA statement. They charged fees upfront for the services.
They allegedly laundered the money they received by transferring the funds between bank accounts within a seven or 30-day period.
In March 2012, Bordbar is accused of making a series of transactions under $10,000 through a bank to avoid having the bank file reports of the transaction. A financial institution is required to file a report with the Department of Justice on cash transactions that exceed $10,000.
If convicted, Bordbar faces a maximum sentence of 52 years in state prison. Ferrer faces a maximum of 27 years and four months. Gressier and Yarandi face 48 years and eight months. And Duran, Taghizadeh and Valdellon, face a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison.
Bordbar and Ferrer are being held on $9.8 million bail, Duran and Valdellon are being held on $5 million and Taghizadeh on $3.5 million. Gressier and Yarandi are fugitives and have warrants out for their arrest.
Along with NBPD and OCDA Bureau of Investigation, the USSS, Franchise Tax Board, State Bar of California, FBI, Huntington Beach Police Department, Irvine Police Department, and the California Bureau of Real Estate investigated or assisted on the case.