SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An Oceanside attorney and a telemarketing salesman were arraigned in federal court Tuesday on a 50-count indictment charging them with defrauding thousands of homeowners in an $11 million "loan modification" fraud scheme.
Dean G. Chandler and 25-year-old Shelveen Singh -- and two other defendants previously arraigned -- are accused of using Chandler's Oceanside-based law firm, 1st American Law Center, to persuade victims to pay thousands of dollars each by deceptively touting 1ALC's purported success and legal resources, and falsely promising that 1ALC would successfully modify their residential mortgage loans.
"Mortgage modification scams prey on struggling and trusting homeowners," said Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation. "Today's court actions are a strong reminder of how serious our courts consider this criminal activity."
The defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly used high-pressure sales tactics and outright lies to prey on homeowners across the country who were struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments and were at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure.
The conspirators falsely promised to have a team of attorneys pre-screen client applications -- claiming that the attorneys only approved 30 percent of those seeking to use 1ALC's services -- and boasted of having a 98 percent success rate in obtaining loan modifications, the indictment alleges.
Chandler, 47, appeared in television commercials and on the company's websites as the attorney in charge of the company, soliciting customers throughout the United States, prosecutors said.
Chandler is charged along with telemarketers Singh and Anthony Calandriello, and call center manager Michael Eccles, with conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud through the operation of 1ALC.
Chandler is also charged with money laundering because he allegedly conducted financial transactions with the proceeds of the fraudulent conspiracy.
A Navy SEAL is being held in a military brig while authorities investigate the stabbing death of an Islamic State combatant while he was subdued in Iraq last year.
A California kindergartener can keep bringing a cannabis-based drug used for emergency treatment of a rare form of epilepsy to her public school, a judge ruled Friday.
A clear and warm weekend as temperatures begin to warm. Humidity levels in the desert will gradually lower through the weekend as a weak ridge briefly builds Saturday.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed two resolutions with Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum supporting international trade and border infrastructure programs.
City Attorney Mara Elliott announced that her office, in coordination with other state and city agencies, reached a $1.6 million settlement with Whole Foods Market California Inc. and two related entities resolving allegations of unlawful handling and disposal of hazardous waste and materials.
Police arrested a 32-year-old Escondido man on suspicion of murder in connection with the shooting death of an unidentified male at a bar on West Grand Avenue.
A woman was killed when she stepped out of her boyfriend's car onto a Chula Vista street and was struck by a passing vehicle, authorities said Saturday.
Residents in La Mesa’s Eastridge area are trying to solve a mystery surrounding a dinosaur. The Tyrannosaurus Rex statue appeared on an empty plot of land sometimes over the past few days with no explanation.
Three major freeway closures across San Diego County will put the brakes on several routes from east to west this weekend. The first closure is the eastbound SR-94 connector to southbound SR-125 on Saturday, September 22.
National City police and sheriff's deputies will not face criminal charges in connection with the death of a drug-impaired mentally ill man following his combative arrest in the South Bay city last spring, District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Friday.