Real Estate

Monday, Jan 07 2013 10:58 AM

Final defendant sentenced in mortgage fraud scheme

BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The final defendant in a massive mortgage fraud scheme learned her fate Monday morning.

Angie Cachu, 45, was sentenced by Kern County Superior Court Judge Colette M. Humphrey to a year in jail and five years' felony probation. Her attorney, Joe Whittington, had asked if Cachu could just be sentenced to six months in custody.

Prosecutor Gordon Isen, however, said Cachu deserved the 1-year sentence. He said she was uncooperative and had evaded authorities, and, despite her claims to the contrary, the police reports show she played an active role in the fraud scheme.

"Wrapping up a case like this is a long process, but keep in mind that in crimes of this nature the criminals leave an indelible paper trail that's easy to follow long after the fact of the crime having been committed," Isen said.

He added that California City police did an outstanding job in their investigation.

Court documents allege the defendants participated in a conspiracy to arrange more than $2.7 million in sham sales of newly constructed homes in California City and submitted loan applications containing forged documents and fraudulent misrepresentations.

California City police have said the investigation began in November 2008 when police received an identity theft report out of Anaheim in which the victim's identity was being used to buy property in California City. Officers began following leads and examined the loans, the companies involved and the people who were listed as living in the house.

It became apparent many of the same people were involved in each of six properties.

Those involved built the houses in a plummeting market and used a combination of straw buyers and identity theft victims to sell the houses to, police said. And the appraiser gave the homes a highly inflated value, leaving a lot of money left over for the defendants to divide among themselves.

Those charged in the scheme were: appraiser Nathaniel Acree, of Long Beach; broker Jay Langner, of San Juan Capistrano; Khalid Malik Abdul Ali, of California City; Cachu, of Orange; and notary Elizabeth Torres, of Santa Ana.

Langner pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit grand theft and was sentenced to four years in prison, court records show. Acree pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft of property and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Ali pleaded no contest to two felony counts of conspiracy and was sentenced to five years in prison, and Torres pleaded no contest to misdemeanor accessory and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, according to court records.

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