A disbarred attorney, who practiced in Fullerton, was sentenced Monday to four years in federal prison for ripping off about 75 distressed Orange County homeowners out of more than $1 million.

Moses S. Hall, 63, of Blackwood, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in July 2017 to one count each of wire fraud and obstructing the IRS.

Hall was disbarred in California on June 21, 2012. According to the State Bar, he admitted bilking four clients out of tens of thousands of dollars by instructing them to stop making mortgage payments and send the payments to him while he worked on getting a loan modification to lower their mortgage fees.

The clients lost their homes and Hall did not return the money they had paid to him, according to the State Bar, which reported that Hall was ordered to repay $11,507.45 to one client, $15,903.44 to another and $22,262.02 to a married couple.

The state Bar paid 12 victims a total of $340,000, according to Thom Mrozek, the public affairs officer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney ordered Hall to pay restitution to the victims and the IRS, Mrozek said. The amount will be determined later.

Hall operated a mortgage modification scheme from 2008 through 2012.

Hall told clients to make mortgage payments to him so he could use the money to negotiate with the banks, but instead he pocketed the funds.

Some victims in the indictment lost their homes, Mrozek said. One couple, who lost their home, also lost $400,000 to Hall, who spent the money on himself in six months.

Hall also did not tell his clients he was a convicted felon who served time in state prison in New Jersey before he got a law license in California.

At one point, Hall took $25,000 he received from his clients to buy a Mercedes-Benz, according to an indictment handed down in 2016.

Hall also failed to file tax returns for 2008-12 and report more than $1 million in income, the indictment alleges, and failed to file a federal return in 2009 that should have reported more than $400,000 in income.

Hall represented a Corona couple who filed a class-action lawsuit against their lenders and ended up winning an appeal in state court. The Fourth Appellate District justices did not issue a ruling on the case, but said the couple could make their case to a lower court judge.

Hall told City News Service at the time that the significance of the ruling was that it pushed lenders to more meaningfully work with borrowers to save their homes from foreclosure.

“Now every homeowner in California can sue if they don’t have a meaningful discussion with their lender on ways to save their home,” Hall said in a June 2010 interview.

The ruling focused on a 2008 state law that intended to push lenders to work harder to help distressed homeowners.

“Now the banks can spend billions of dollars fighting lawsuits or they can just offer trial modifications,” Hall said. “And there’s a litany of things banks can do to help people keep their homes.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.