A 38-year-old man is facing more than 21 years in prison, while a 60-year-old co-defendant faces 15 years behind bars for allegedly bilking $365,000 from an Orange County man in an investment scam, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Isai Quezada, who faces 21 years and four months in prison if convicted at trial, was charged in March of last year, but wasn’t arrested until last week. Co-defendant Steve Lopez pleaded not guilty June 6.
Another co-defendant, Cherasak Buksoontorn, 38, pleaded guilty to a felony count of grand theft in a plea bargain that dismissed multiple other felonies and was sentenced to 54 days in jail, or time already served behind bars, and was placed on three years of formal probation.
Buksoontorn “befriended” the victim and introduced him to Quezada and Lopez, according to an investigator’s motion to increase bail for the defendants. They convinced him to loan them $100,000 for an investment in Brazilian Blue Bonds that they said were worth millions of dollars, according to the motion.
A year later they allegedly convinced the victim to invest $200,000 more, according to the bail motion.
He was also persuaded to invest $65,000 in a “house-flipping” proposal to rehab a residential property for profit, said Deputy District Attorney Michelle Lipton.
Quezada was accused of offering a home worth $1 million as collateral and gave the victim a blank check, but he didn’t own the home and the check was worthless, Lipton said.
Quezada was a fugitive for over a year, according to the prosecutor.
Investigators suspect there are two more victims and Quezada may face additional charges, Lipton said.
Lopez was accused of grifting another victim out of about $80,000, Lipton alleged.
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