Two men get 7 years in OC fraud scheme

Two men involved in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme in Orange County were sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday.

Jimmy Phan, 47, and Vinh Phan, 47, both pleaded guilty on Dec. 16, court records show. The Phans are not related.

Co-defendant Stephen Nguyen, 59, is a fugitive.

Jimmy Phan and Vinh Phan pleaded guilty to multiple counts of grand theft, mortgage fraud, attempted deposit of a forged or forged instrument and admitted to aggravated white-collar felony sentence enhancements exceeding 500,000 $.

Defendants acquired property “and (used) it as collateral to borrow large sums of money from moneylenders and private parties on a short-term, high-interest basis,” a county prosecutor’s investigator said. Orange in a bail application.

Some of the payments were made, but the lenders were unaware that the defendants would “record forged transfers (an instrument indicating that the loan was paid),” prosecutors said.

“Then they would take advantage of the title being released from the first loan and get a second loan,” prosecutors said.

“The second lender would fund the loan on the belief that the ownership was free and clear,” prosecutors alleged.

Second loans were sometimes used to finance the acquisition of a property with an “arm’s length buyer”, who was “in effect colluding with the seller to inflate the value of the property or give the appearance of legitimacy”, prosecutors alleged.

Prosecutors allege 12 victims were duped into 10 separate real estate transactions with total losses of approximately $15 million.

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