The courtroom was quiet as a straight-faced Jill Silvey, hair pulled back into a neat bun walked in and sat down. She faced the judge and never once looked back to the room full of alleged victims giving testimony about how they lost their life savings to her.
"This is a fairly unusual proceeding," Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Philip H. Pennypacker said to those in the room last month. "The letters submitted by you are moving. Some of the people listed have suffered horrendous losses and I am picking up quite a dynamic going on in this process."
For the second time in his nine years on the bench, Pennypacker heard from the alleged victims in a real estate fraud case that involves 44 counts, approximately 26 victims, $1.3 million in losses, forged promise notes, deeds of trusts and a suspect in jail with a $3 million bail.
Silvey, 51, was arrested on June 27 in her San Jose home on charges she defrauded or falsely used identities of more than 20 individuals between 2005 and 2011. She is accused of stealing $1.214 million by asking investors to loan money to borrowers who could not qualify for traditional loans.
According to court documents, Silvey would forge the names of supposed borrowers to create fake loan documents and deeds in order to convince investors that their money was secured by an interest in each fictitious borrower's real estate.
Several of the named victims are at least 65 years of age, so elderly financial abuse counts are included in the charges.
"Voters several years ago enacted Marsy’s Law, which gives voice to alleged victims and allows them input in what goes on in the courthouse," Pennypacker explained to the room before testimonies began.
The first speaker walked up to the stand, hands shaking and began to talk.
"I’ve been to church with Jill," Kirk Bibb said. "She sold us our home. She knew I had a young family. I’ve been in Jill’s house. I don’t know when she made the choice to make me a victim."
Bibb said, through tears and a shakey voice that he has twins in first grade and that because of what happened with Silvey, he cannot afford a tutor for his children. Silvey allegedly stole $70,000 from him.
"I trusted her and she raped us," he said. "This affected our day to day choices. My kids have to go to college. What occurred here will affect their choices.
"I realized that Jill doesn’t have prior convictions," Bibb said. "I wanted you to know about our story because it transcends facts, laws and prior history. It was a well thought-out plan. She didn't get me and my wife. She got my kids."
Leslie Robidoux met Silvey in 2004 when Robidoux owned the Los Gatos boutique, Bettinas.
"Not only did I know Jill, but she used to call me her best friend," Robidoux said.
She and her husband lost about $250,000 to Silvey.
"This is a woman that would tell me she loved me everyday," Robidoux said. "I don't know what happened with you, Jill. You had people that loved you."
"This is not a woman who went a little astray," said Raymond Robidoux, Leslie's husband. "She committed crime after crime after crime.
"There's a total lack of remorse and she denies responsibility," he said. "What happens when she's let loose on society again?"
D.A. Investigator Jodi Thomas is investigating the case. Anyone with information is invited to contact Thomas at 408-792-2928 or email@example.com.
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