A Riverside man is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9 for selling phony debt-elimination services to distressed homeowners.
James Ignatius “Jim” Diamond, 59, was convicted late Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court of 30 fraud charges and was immediately taken into custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Between 2010 and 2013, Diamond targeted homeowners by describing what he called a loophole in the Uniform Commercial Code regarding real estate ownership, in which the homeowner could become the creditor and the financial institution creditor/lender would become the debtor, prosecutors said.
The programs purported to eliminate the victims’ debts altogether. Diamond and his co-schemers would collect from victims an advance fee, followed by other periodic fees and notary payments totaling hundreds of dollars. The average victim paid thousands of dollars, and some victims paid tens of thousands of dollars.
Many of Diamond’s victims lost their homes, were evicted or suffered other adverse economic consequences, prosecutors said. The investigation uncovered more than 500 victims with collective losses of more than $1.6 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Diamond — who spent victims’ money on luxury hotels, jewelry, alcohol and living expenses — faces decades in federal prison, prosecutors said.
Previously in the case, a Diamond associate — Tricia Mae Gruber, 43, of Riverside — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and admitted helping to operate the scheme. She is expected to be sentenced in October.
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