The case was prosecuted in 2009 and it resulted in jail time for a man named William Hutchings and nine others.
These people were found guilty of convincing people to hand over the deeds to their San Diego homes to avoid foreclosure. Many of the victims spoke little English.
According to local publication, the Press Enterprise, the homes were then rented back to the original owners in some cases; in others, the original owners paid $10,000 in lease-back or land grant fees. Only nine of the 121 victims retained their homes.
“For San Diego County, it’s one of the larger cases tried in the fraud arena because of the number of victims and scope of loss,” lead prosecutor Steve Robinson told the Press Enterprise.
There have been several cases of unscrupulous companies taking advantage of down-and-out Americans who struggled to keep their homes following the housing market collapse, including a number of big banks.
The OCC announced in late June that U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Santander and Everbank had failed to meet the requirements of a 2011 enforcement order, which was issued by the government, and discovered certain lenders rushed the foreclosure process for clients.
A total of $820,000 will be sent to 121 victims in San Diego who had been taken advantage of by fraudsters offering foreclosure avoidance.