Californian jailed for $ 7.6 million mortgage fraud

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LOS ANGELES (AP). The West Hollywood man who defrauded more than 2,000 homeowners and caused $ 7.6 million in damage was sentenced Monday to more than 12 and a half years in federal prison, authorities said.

Patrick Soria, 35, was “a skilled con man who created a very sophisticated scheme,” said US District Judge Dale S. Fisher, according to a statement from the US District Attorney.

“It’s not the biggest case I’ve led in dollar terms, but it’s the most arrogant and heartless,” Fischer said.

Prosecutors said Soria was running a mortgage fraud scheme across the country. He made fake documents at county registrars’ offices claiming to own real estate, which he then sold.

He used the money to fund a lifestyle that included escort services, luxury hotel accommodations and hip car rentals like Lamborghini, prosecutors said.

Soria also tricked some homeowners into befriending them and convincing them that he could cut their mortgage payments by changing their loans or taking their mortgages from their lenders, prosecutors said.

“Having won the trust of the victims, Soria convinced homeowners to stop paying their real lender and start paying him,” and many lost their homes, the statement said.

Prosecutors said the affected facilities were in states including California, Texas, New York and Nevada.

In March, Soria pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and contempt of court.

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