A Midway City man was convicted in federal court of charges related to bilking more than $1.5 million from distressed homeowners in a bogus loan modification scheme.
Antonio Marquette, who went by “Alan Le” and “Anthony Le,” was taken into custody after the verdicts were read. U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford set sentencing for Jan. 30.
Marquette is facing up to 220 years in prison, according to Tracy Webb, the director of external affairs for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California.
Marquette operated Bolsa Marketing Group in Garden Grove in 2010 and 2011 and charged homeowners up to $100,000 in cash for services the homeowners did not receive, Webb said.
Through Bolsa Marketing, Marquette ran a scheme that targeted distressed homeowners, most of whom were members of Vietnamese communities in Southern California, the Bay Area and Houston, and induced them to pay large, up-front fees to obtain mortgage relief services, Webb said.
Marquette deceived distressed homeowners with false promises that he could help them avoid foreclosure by obtaining modifications to their mortgages, and in some cases, even completely eliminate their loans, Webb said.
As part of the scheme, Marquette made various promises to homeowners, including making guarantees that he could reduce their outstanding debt to 25 percent of the loan balance in only four months, according to Webb.
Marquette also sent fraudulent checks to “pay off” mortgages and filed bogus documents with county recorders’ offices, according to court documents.
Marquette was convicted by a federal jury in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana of nine counts of mail fraud, and one count each of wire fraud and money laundering, Webb said.
“While the defendant convinced his victims to pay exorbitant fees with lofty, false promises, he in fact did nothing to help them, and many victims subsequently lost their homes,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said.
The case against Marquette was investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Staples.
“The defendant operated this affinity scheme by targeting Vietnamese homeowners with false promises via Vietnamese-language radio advertisements, which added a veneer of legitimacy to his scheme,” said Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
—City News Service