Ventura business owner sentenced for mortgage fraud
Ventura business owner sentenced for mortgage fraud
A Riverside County man who operated a mortgage rescue business in Ventura County will serve a year in jail for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme. Two co-defendants, Roberto and Rosalva Sanchez, of Oxnard, received six-month sentences in jail as well as restitution.

Patrick Iturra, will serve 365 days in jail after pleading guilty to two felony counts of fraud and three felony counts of grand theft. Operating under the name Mercury Business Group, Iturra promised homeowners that he could save their homes from foreclosure. Iturra collected fees from the homeowners but did not take any steps to prevent foreclosure. Victims lost more than $100,000 in cash to the scheme, and all but one of the victims lost their homes.

In addition to the jail sentence, Iturra received 5 years of probation and will pay $100,000 in restitution to his victims. In addition, the judge ordered him to refrain from working in real estate or any business related to foreclosure prevention.

Iturra’s victims all spoke Spanish, and many did not understand the foreclosure process. In some cases, victims had already lost legal possession of their homes by the time they contacted Mercury Business Group. Iturra pleaded not guilty to the charges last April, but changed his plea to guilty in December 2016.

Ventura fraud attorney


If you’ve been arrested for fraud or a similar crime in Ventura County, you need the assistance of an experienced Ventura fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively for more than 30 years in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.

Mr. Helfend handles each case personally, which means that you’ll work directly with him on your defense. Your case will not be handed over to a less experienced attorney.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County fraud case.

Photo Credit: Taber Andrew Bain, via Flickr.com

Ventura fraud lands Canyon Lake man in jail
Ventura fraud lands Canyon Lake man in jail
A Canyon Lake man has pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and three counts of grand theft in connection with a foreclosure fraud scheme he operated in Ventura.

Patrick Iturra, 46, promised clients that he could help them avoid foreclosure, and often took advance payments of thousands of dollars from them, even though he did nothing to help them avoid losing their homes. Iturra wasn’t the only person charged in the scheme. Robert and Rosalva Sanchez of Oxnard, were also indicted on grand theft and fraud charges pleaded guilty. They were ordered to serve 180 days in jail and make financial restitution to their victims.

The trio operated Mercury Business Group, which purported to offer financial services, including foreclosure avoidance, debt management, real estate investment services and credit education. The business operated out of a Pasadena address since 2009.

Ventura Fraud Lawyer


If you’ve been accused of fraud, grand theft or a similar crime, you should know that Ventura County fraud lawyer Robert Helfend is ready to take your case. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense, and takes cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.

He handles each case personally, so you’ll always have the benefit of his extensive experience. His first priority will be to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that’s not possible, he will work with prosecutors to ensure that you benefit from the best possible resolution to your case.

Don’t risk your freedom on an inexperienced criminal defense attorney when you can work with one of the best, most aggressive defense attorneys in Southern California. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura fraud case.

Photo Credit: Basic Gov, via Flickr.com

Securities fraud sentencing stalled for dairy farm scheme
Securities fraud sentencing stalled for dairy farm scheme
Sharon Palmer, the Santa Paula woman who was convicted of securities fraud in 2015 has yet to be sentenced for the crime. James Stewart and Larry Otting were convicted of grand theft, and a special enhancement of aggravated white-collar crime for their role in the financing scheme for a farm that sold unpasteurized milk.

Stewart formed Rawesome Foods as a members-only cooperative, and sold raw milk produced at Palmer’s Health Family Farms. Palmer wanted to exercise an option to purchase the farm property, which she leased. Palmer, Stewart and Otting conspired to use Otting’s line-of-credit to secure funds for Palmer’s down payment on the farm. In exchange for the use of Otting’s line of credit, Palmer promised Otting the use of 10 of the farm’s 51 acres.

The trio then attracted other investors to repay Otting’s loan. Under the plan, Palmer would make the mortgage and tax payments. The investors were given unsigned deeds of trust, which proved worthless. Investors were instructed to wire the money directly to Otting, or to Healthy Family Farms in an effort to disguise the source of the funds. Palmer, Stewart and Otting knew that the bank that issued the mortgage would have denied the loan had it known that third party investments were involved in the purchase.

This is not the first time that Palmer has run into legal trouble. In 2011, she was accused of purchasing thousands of dollars worth of meat, poultry and eggs, and selling it at local farmers’ markets while claiming that the products originated from her farm, and that the animals had not been feed commercial feed products. In addition, Stewart was accused of illegally importing unpasteurized milk from Pennsylvania and selling it to consumers.

Santa Paula Securities Fraud Lawyer


If you’ve been arrested for securities fraud in Santa Paula, or anywhere in Southern California, you need the assistance of an experienced securities fraud lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively in Southern California for more than 30 years, and has established a reputation as an aggressive defender of his clients’ rights.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

Photo Credit: Chiot’s Run, via Flickr.com

Securities fraud plea for Ventura man
Securities fraud plea for Ventura man
A Ventura man pleaded guilty last month to charges related to a securities fraud scheme involving California real estate. Peter Woodard, 48, of Ventura pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Between 2007 and 2008, Woodard and his partner Michael Llamas of Tracy, began working with Lee Loomis, of Loomis Wealth Solutions. The men obtained the right to purchase discounted homes in California and other states. The homes were then sold to dozens of investors.

Loomis made a number of representations to the investors regarding the value of the homes, the management of the properties, and the amount of the monthly income associated with each property. As part of the fraud, the investors were not required to make down payments. Several investors purchased multiple properties.

Loomis, Llamas and Woodard the obtained mortgages on the properties for their full market value. They failed to disclose to the mortgage underwriters that the homes had been offered for sale at a discount. Further, the trio used mortgage funds to make the required down payments on the properties without disclosing this to the lenders. The trio split the difference between the purchase price and the mortgage amount, and generated $3.5 million in profits between them. Approximately 220 properties were involved in the scam.

Woodard will be sentenced in February 2017 on the wire fraud charges. He faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Securities fraud attorney


If you’re facing securities fraud, investment fraud or conspiracy charges, you need the assistance of an experienced federal securities fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively for more than 30 years. He takes cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California, including cases tried in federal courts. Don’t risk your freedom by working with an inexperienced criminal defense attorney.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.
Photo Credit: squiddles, via Flickr.com