A case that began is closer to resolution, with the two defendants entering a plea.
Owners of a Campbell foreclosure consulting firm, M & R Contemporary Solutions Inc., Rene Alvarez and Mariano Ortega pled guilty and no contest this week.
The two appeared in Santa Clara Superior Court March 19 on charges related to a scheme that, over the course of a year left about 400 mainly Hispanic homeowners out of nearly $2 million.
"This was one of the largest, if not largest real estate fraud cases in the county's history," said Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Mike Fitzsimmons.
Fitzsimmons said the two defendants will receive a five year sentence of jail and mandatory supervision. Investigators have seized $257,000 from the defendants' bank accounts, which may be applied towards restitution.
The victim homeowners, who at the time of their involvement with the defendants were in various stages of the foreclosure process were told that M & R could save their homes.
According to the release, the business would "save their homes from foreclosure by facilitating" the sale of the victim's loan to a third party at a discounted price. From there, the homeowners would be offered a new, reduced principal loan. Victims paid Ortega and Alvarez anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. All the fees were collected up front.
“Homeowners in foreclosure should never pay advance fees for help,’’ Fitzsimmons said in a release. “They should reach out to the agencies who can lend a helping hand for free.”
Alvarez and Ortega were indicted by the Santa Clara Grand Jury in what the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office called a "wide-ranging loan modification scam."
According to a press release from the DA's office, the two men, along with Cydney Sanchez, 60, of Los Angeles, were arraigned in April on an 83-count indictment, which charged them with allegedly defrauding 45 homeowners in eight Northern California counties over a one-year period.
Chavez' trial is still pending.
Alvarez and Ortega owned and operated M & R Contemporary Solutions Inc, a Campbell foreclosure-consulting firm from 2008-09.
Sentencing for Alvarez and Ortega is scheduled for May 21, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Department 30.
Victims of M & R who seek information on the sentencing or restitution should contact the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit at (408) 792-2879.