Two women made their first appearances in court Friday in Santa Ana on charges of masquerading as attorneys to steal money from 25 distressed homeowners, who thought they were getting help with late mortgage payments.

Maria Del Carmen Cancino, 31, of Orange, and Melissa Marie Luna, 37, of Anaheim, were charged this month with dozens of felonies, including grand theft, burglary, attempted grand theft as well as misdemeanor counts of unauthorized advertising or practicing of law.

After making their initial appearance in court in the Santa Ana jail courtroom on Friday they were ordered to return to court to be arraigned in the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana on Jan. 17.

The two are accused of taking cash from 25 clients to help them with their mortgage payments and either pocketing the money or failing to do what they advertised, according to court records.

Luna is accused of referring the clients to Cancino, who allegedly represented herself as an attorney, according to court records.

It wasn’t clear how much money changed hands in the alleged scheme.

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