Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vista Realtor Sent to Prison for Foreclosure Fraud

SAN DIEGO - A Vista real estate agent and businessman who engaged in several fraudulent schemes in which his mostly Latino clientele paid him $4.5 million in fees over several years was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison.

Miguel Angel Romero, 40, pleaded guilty last September to eight felony counts, including grand theft and deceitful practices by a mortgage foreclosure consultant.

Prosecutors said Romero told his mostly Hispanic clients that they could get rich by withdrawing equity from their homes and investing the money in other properties.

Romero also pressured clients to buy homes they couldn't afford, most of which ended up in foreclosure, prosecutors said.

"This is a tragedy of unspeakable dimensions," Judge Charles Rogers told the victims jammed into his courtroom.

According to a probation report, Romero was involved in several fraudulent schemes from 2005 until last year. Prosecutors said at least 400 people were victimized.

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