WESTMINSTER, Calif.—Two men involved in a $15 million mortgage fraud scheme in Orange County pleaded guilty and are set to be sentenced Jan. 10, according to court records obtained Dec. 17.
Jimmy Phan, 47, and Vinh Phan, 46, both pleaded guilty on Thursday, according to court records. The Phans are not related.
Co-defendant Stephen Nguyen, 59, is a fugitive.
Jimmy Phan and Vinh Phan pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts of grand theft, mortgage fraud, attempting to file a false or forged instrument, and admitted sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime exceeding $500,000.
The defendants are accused of acquiring property “and using them as collateral to borrow large amounts of money from lenders and private parties for short terms and high interest,” an Orange County District Attorney’s investigator said in a bail petition.
Some of the payments were made, but the lenders did not know the defendants “would record forged conveyances (an instrument to indicate that the loan was paid],” prosecutors alleged.
“Then they would take the advantage of the title being free from the first loan and obtain a second loan,” prosecutors alleged.
“The second lender would fund the loan with the belief the property was free and clear,” prosecutors alleged.
The second loans were sometimes used to finance the acquisition of property with an “arms length buyer,” who was “in fact in collusion with the seller to inflate the value of the property or to give the appearance of legitimacy,” prosecutors alleged.
Prosecutors allege 12 victims were duped in 10 separate real estate transactions with total losses of about $15 million.