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$10 million mortgage scheme ends in arrest

Fraud targeted California homeowners facing foreclosure

Zalathiel Aguila thought preying on struggling homeowners was a good way to make some extra cash, but the Vallejo, California, man could be facing 30 years of hard time behind bars.

From September 2004 to February 2008, Aguila and his alleged conspirators, Sergio Roman Barrientos and Omar Anabo, defrauded financially insured institutions out of an estimated $10.47 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The trio operated Capital Access LLC, a fraudulent company that specifically targeted vulnerable California homeowners approaching foreclosure,  convincing them to sign away the title of their homes. 

Under false pretenses, they allegedly stripped away home equity from the properties and used funds to finance operational and personal expenses.

The scheme cost homeowners their savings and some even lost their homes.

Eventually, the company caught the attention of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Last week, Aguila pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud and will be sentenced on Nov. 16. He could potentially spend 30 years in jail and be ordered to cough up a $1 million fine.

Barrientos and Anabo are expected to be sentenced on Sept. 21 and April 26, according to the USDJ.

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