News from the D.A.
District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced the arrests of Ojai resident Nelly Luz Rubiano, and Orange County residents Sergio Sanchez Santibanez and Alejandra Rodriguez for felony grand theft and felony foreclosure consultant fraud. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.
The charges filed against the three defendants arise from a fraudulent short-sale and foreclosure-rescue program called Foreclosure Legal Services (FLS), based in the city of Orange. From 2011 to 2012, the defendants are accused of luring struggling homeowners in Ventura County with false promises to save their homes from foreclosure. FLS promised to purchase distressed properties for less than what was owed (a short sale) and to later sell the properties back to victims at a reduced market value. Once lured in, victims were charged thousands of dollars in illegal up-front fees and received no actual services from the charged defendants. Up-front fees for mortgage loan modification or foreclosure prevention services are illegal in California.
Santibanez and Rodriguez are each charged with four felony counts, including grand theft and foreclosure consultant fraud, while Rubiano faces three felony counts, including grand theft and foreclosure fraud. The defendants are pending arraignment in Ventura County Superior Court.