Arrests in SoCal Green Loan, Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Between 2014 and 2020, a group of defendants allegedly used stolen identities to obtain mortgage and green loans, which were wired to bank accounts they controlled.
The 12 individuals were arrested on 133 felony counts for allegedly operating the sophisticated mortgage fraud and green loan scheme throughout Southern California, which resulted in a loss of approximately $15 million over the course of several years.
The arrests were the result of a multi-year investigation led by the LAPD, with significant assistance from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG). The Fraud and Special Prosecutions Unit of the California Department of Justice is prosecuting the case.
This investigation was “lengthy and complex,” said LAPD Captain Lillian Carranza. “We are very proud of the work done by our Commercial Crimes Detectives. This case could not have been brought to fruition without their work ethics, tenacity, and commitment to duty. The victims of these crimes deserve justice and due process.”
How They Did It
Over six years, the defendants allegedly exploited the Ygrene Energy Fund and Renew Funding, companies that provide funding to licensed contractors for energy-efficient home improvements for homeowners.
The defendants also allegedly used their false identities to obtain mortgage loans from conventional banks and hard money lenders for years, culminating in a loss of $15 million.
Eleven of the 12 defendants have been arraigned on charges of conspiracy, mortgage fraud, grand theft, identity theft, forgery, filing a false or forged document, and money laundering, as well as a special allegation for aggravated white-collar crime, after being indicted by a Los Angeles County grand jury on April 26, 2021. They each pleaded not guilty during their arraignments. A 12th suspect was arrested on May 3.
“Thank you to the LAPD and the FHFA-OIG for their work to put an end to an extensive, six-year fraud scheme,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The allegations against these defendants charge a pattern of disregard for the law and willingness to go as far as stealing the identities of the deceased just to further their scheme. Our office will seek to hold these defendants accountable for their alleged actions.”
In total, the 12 defendants face 133 felony counts for allegedly operating the fraudulent mortgage and green loan scheme throughout the Southern California region.
“It’s definitely a big indictment, there was an intense investigation,” said defense attorney Diana Ivanova in an interview. “It sounds horrible. It looks horrible. But it’s a complex case with a lot of nuances and, obviously, we’re going to fight aggressively against the charges.”