CALIFORNIA CITY– Two defendants charged in connection with an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme to obtain over $2.7 million dollars on sham sales of newly constructed California City homes pled guilty to mortgage fraud charges this week.
Real Estate Broker Jay Edward Langner, 52, of San Juan Capistrano had been charged with nine felony counts of conspiracy, grand theft and identity theft. Langner pled guilty to conspiracy to commit grand theft and the remaining charges were dismissed in exchange for his plea.
Court documents allege Langner, doing business as Pacific Hills Realty, participated in a conspiracy to arrange sham sales of newly constructed homes and submit loan applications containing forged documents and fraudulent misrepresentations. Langner is expected to be sentenced to four years of incarceration and forfeit his real estate license at a sentencing hearing scheduled for November 27, 2012.
Angie Cachu, 45, of Orange, had been charged with nine felony counts of conspiracy, grand theft and identity theft. Cachu pled no contest Monday to conspiracy to commit identity theft. The remaining charges were dismissed in exchange for her plea.
Court documents allege Cachu was paid by co-conspirators to recruit straw borrowers and offer them money for the use of their identities. Cachu is expected to be sentenced to 12 months of incarceration followed by five years of felony probation at a sentencing hearing on December 6, 2012.
The investigation began in late 2008 when California City Detectives received an identity theft report from an Orange County man who claimed his identity had been used for a mortgage loan on a California City property.
The investigation that ensued identified dozens of properties also linked to the scheme.
California City PD Detectives traveled extensively throughout Southern California and Nevada over the course of the 2½ year investigation, served search warrants at 43 locations, and examined thousands of documents.
The guilty pleas follow the convictions of three other co-conspirators also charged in the case.
Khalid Malik Abdul Ali, 61, of California City had been charged with nine felony counts of conspiracy, grand theft and identity theft. Court documents allege Ali received kickback payments at loan closing for conspiring to arrange sham sales of newly constructed homes.
Ali pled no contest to conspiracy in February of this year and was sentenced to five years of incarceration.
Appraiser Nathaniel Acree, 66, of Long Beach had been charged with four felony counts of conspiracy and grand theft. Court documents alleged Acree conspired to provide falsely inflated appraisals in support fraudulent mortgage applications. Acree pled no contest to grand theft in December 2011 and was sentenced to two years of incarceration and loss of his appraiser’s license.
Notary Elizabeth Torres, 29, of Santa Ana had been charged with two felony counts of fraudulent notarial acts. Court documents allege Torres knowingly notarized false or forged deeds of trust. Torres pled no contest to accessory to a felony in March of this year and was sentenced to 10 days incarceration, three years’ probation and loss of her notary commission.
The case was investigated by California City Police Department Detectives with the assistance of the Orange County District Attorney’s office Bureau of Investigation and US Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by the Kern County District Attorney’s office.
The California City Police Department is grateful to retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Chris L. Christopher for his invaluable assistance during this investigation. Christopher was a nationally recognized expert in real estate fraud investigation and had come out of retirement to assist the California City Police Department with the investigation and pass down his legendary detective skills to a new generation of investigators.
Christopher died in a traffic accident last year. This was his last investigation.
(Information via press release from the California City Police Department.)