Foreclosure scam leads to 35-year prison sentence
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – One of two brothers convicted of leading a nationwide foreclosure scam was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in federal prison for stealing titles to more than 300 homes.
Federal prosecutors in Sacramento said 40-year-old Charles Head of Pittsburgh and 17 other defendants obtained more than $90 million in fraudulent loans and caused more than $50 million in losses between January 2004 and June 2006.
Head and his brother, Jeremy Michael Head, 34, of Huntington Beach, were convicted in May 2013 of mail fraud and other charges. Charles Head was convicted of additional mail fraud charges in a second trial in December.
Jeremy Head is awaiting sentencing. Their attorneys did not immediately return telephone messages after Wednesday’s sentencing.
The pair operated Orange County-based Head Financial Services, which promised to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure. But prosecutors said they instead used misrepresentations, fraud and forgery to trick the owners into signing over the titles of their homes to straw buyers who were friends of or related to the defendants or were solicited on the Internet.
Once they had the title, prosecutors said the defendants applied for additional mortgages to drain the remaining equity in the homes. The original owners were left homeless, without equity and with damaged credit ratings.
The perpetrators were “literally stealing the American Dream out from under them,” José Martinez, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, said in a statement.
Charles Head was chief executive of a group of brokerage and financial companies in the Los Angeles area that also included a firm called Creative Loans.
“This defendant purposely targeted the financially vulnerable during their time of greatest distress with promises of help. Then he tricked them into handing over their most valuable asset, their home,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a statement.