For release on March 5, 2012    CONTACT PERSON: Victor Chen, Deputy District Attorney Major Fraud Unit/Economic Crimes Group (408) 792-2665     COUPLE CONVICTED FOR REPEATED LEASE FRAUD SCHEMES   On March 1, 2012, Timothy August, 35, of San Jose pleaded guilty to seventeen felonies, including second degree burglary, grand theft, passing bad checks, and extortion.  Additionally, co-defendant Monica Perretta, 31, also of San Jose pleaded guilty to five counts of felony grand theft.  The couple was prosecuted for swindling local landlords out of rental income by fraudulently renting homes with no intention of paying rent and there after delaying evictions.  Their consecutive schemes on five rental homes since 2008 have resulted in over $59,000 in losses.  The rentals were located in San Jose, Campbell and Morgan Hill.      August and Perretta provided falsified income records and credit reports to rent homes with rents ranging from $2,000 to $2,600.  Once they moved in, the defendants used bad checks to pay rent, and then provided various excuses to delay the eviction process.  When frustrated landlords eventually obtained eviction judgments, the defendants would file for bankruptcy to stay the evictions, buying them an additional six to eight weeks of rent-free living as the case winded its way through bankruptcy court.  When the first bankruptcy was ultimately dismissed, the other defendant would file a separate bankruptcy to further delay the eviction.  By the time both defendants were finally evicted, the landlords were defrauded between four to six months of rental income.  In one case, the defendants successfully extorted a landlord into paying them money as a condition of moving out.  The defendants also made money by subleasing rooms in the homes during their squatting periods, and maintained several pit bulls while living in these homes.   “I’m glad the defrauded landlords brought this case to our attention.  The defendants would never have stopped on their own,” said Deputy District Attorney Victor Chen of the Major Fraud Unit.   August will be sentenced to one year in jail followed by five years of probation.  Perretta will be sentenced to one year in jail followed by three years of probation.  As part of their probation conditions, August and Perretta will be ordered pay approximately $60,000 in restitution to all five of the defrauded landlords and three of their former housemates.  The defendants will be sentenced on April 3, 2012 at 9 a.m. in Department 29b of the Santa Clara County Superior Court.  

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