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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Van Nuys man faces $7 million bankruptcy fraud charges

A Los Angeles federal judge, in a ruling on June 17, 2017, decided that a 68-year-old Van Nuys man should remain in federal custody until his bankruptcy fraud trial begins on Aug. 8. The criminal complaint in this case alleges that the man devised a fake program aimed at helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure that netted him as much as $7 million in proceeds.

The grand jury met to decide whether the United States Attorney's Office should move forward in prosecuting the man on June 8. In presenting the case to the panel, prosecutors had alleged that the man and his co-conspirators had marketed his company, Valueline, as a foreclosure or eviction relief company.

Fake deeds

As part of their scheme, which is said to have occurred between October of 2010 and July of 2013, they noted that he asked homeowners, faced with losing their homes, to sign fake deeds. In doing so, the man reportedly told his customers that they were turning over a portion of their interest in the property, a party that investigators later determined was fictitious.

Investigators found that, after signing these fake deeds, the man would then use those fictitious identities to file for bankruptcy for each of them. Doing this would result in the Bankruptcy Code's automatic stay provision kicking in, which would, in turn, stall the foreclosure sale on the individual's property.

More falsified documentation

As far as evictions are concerned, investigators found that the man devised a similar scheme to avoid such actions. In this case, he would have his clients sign fake state eviction documents and then send them to area sheriffs' offices. This resulted in many individuals not being booted from their homes.

In exchange for his services, the man charged his customers monthly fees. And, when it came to attempting to clear the titles of their properties, property owners were forced to pay exorbitant fees.

Currently, the man is facing conspiracy charges, eight counts of having engaged in bankruptcy fraud, and two wire fraud counts. While his trial is scheduled to begin on August 8, in working together with a Van Nuys criminal defense attorney, he may decide that accepting a plea deal on these theft by fraud charges is the best approach in his case.

Source: Daily News, "Van Nuys man ordered detained pending trial on bankruptcy fraud charges," accessed July 14, 2017

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