One of two brothers charged in foreclosure fraud scheme in court - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

One of two brothers charged in foreclosure fraud scheme in court

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A preliminary hearing was scheduled in San Diego Monday for one of two brothers charged with a $1.5 million foreclosure fraud scheme in which they allegedly stole the identity of several notaries and forged hundreds of deeds across several California counties.

John Zepeda, 59, is charged with 106 felony counts, including identity theft, forgery, grand theft and rent-skimming.

Zepeda's 57-year-old brother, David, faces the same charges and is being prosecuted separately.

Both defendants face up to 72 years in prison if convicted.

The brothers' alleged conspiracy involved more than 300 victims and dates back to 2006, prosecutors said.

In San Diego, more than 40 alleged victims have been identified, with losses totaling about $100,000, said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

The defendants allegedly identified properties in foreclosure and acquired title either by forging a quitclaim deed or convincing homeowners to transfer property to them in exchange for help saving their homes. The Zepedas then allegedly rented out the property and stalled the foreclosure process by filing bankruptcy petitions.

The money from the renters was diverted away from the lenders and homeowners, and into the defendants' pockets, prosecutors alleged.

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