FROM: Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer (408) 792-2997   CONTACT PERSON: David Angel, Deputy District Attorney (408) 792-2857; [email protected]   For release on April 16, 2010     FORMER SANTA CLARA COUNTY REALTOR CONVICTED OF MULTIPLE COUNTS AND SENTENCED IN LOAN MODIFICATION SCAM
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge sentenced 32-year old Hector Ricardo Esquivel to one year in jail for six felony counts of grand theft for defrauding homeowners in a loan modification scam. Esquivel, a San Jose resident, solicited victims from Santa Clara County and beyond between May 2008 and May 2009. Victims lost thousands of dollars in the scam. After a thorough investigation by the San Jose Police Department, Mr. Esquivel was arrested in May 2009.   Mr. Esquivel was working as a realtor after his license had been revoked. He solicited primarily monolingual Spanish speaking homeowners and offered loan modification services, charging the homeowners thousands of dollars without providing any services. Several homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure. In addition to a one year jail term, Mr. Esquivel was ordered to pay $23,600 in restitution to his victims. He is also prohibited from working in the real estate or financial sector for the next three years.   The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office wants to let homeowners know that it is currently illegal for anyone to charge advance fees for loan modification services. Fees can only be charged after the services are completed. The Real Estate Fraud Unit of the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office has recently partnered with the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network. The Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network is a national coalition of governmental and private organizations, created by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, NeighborWorks America™ and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to combat loan modification scams. To report a loan modification scam, learn more about the Network, and find resources in your area, please visit http://www.preventloanscams.org.   Anyone who wishes to obtain a real estate fraud complaint form to register a loan modification complaint in Santa Clara County can also contact Duane Shewaga of the District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit at (408) 808-3787, or [email protected].   ###

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