Sushama Devi Lohia and Aida Agusti Castro are Prison Bound for Family Home Loan Scams
A jury today convicted Castro and her son Stephen Kenneth Chrysler, 46, and the judge ordered them to remain in federal custody through their July 30 sentencing. Castro, a state-licensed real estate agent, worked at SKC Real Estate, a Carlsbad company owned by her son.
The mother and son were also part of a loose network of 19 agents and loan brokers who committed $55 million in frauds in the Bay Area and Southern California and were arrested or indicted in 2010, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Castro and Chrysler enlisted clients through advertisements in Spanish-language publications. They then inflated the clients' incomes on applications to secure $8 million in loans to buy 16 properties in Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, Lakeside and Menifee over 25 months from 2005 to 2007. None of the 30 applicants were really qualified to buy the homes, and many were forced out by foreclosure when the scam began unraveling.
Faking businesses, bank balances, management companies, tenants and rental histories on mortgage documents allowed the pair to get false loans approved--and net themselves a hefty $350,000 in fees.
Among those the mother and son used for a business recommendation letter was a psychic at Mystical Dragon in Carlsbad. The fraudsters obviously could not see into the future that the psychic would wind up testifying for the prosecution.
Castro and Chrysler may have also been unable to predict that they so far would be the only scammers from the statewide network to go to trial--and get convicted.
Their sentences will be based on the losses suffered by their victims, some of whom were lied to or not allowed to see translations of the documents they signed, according to the U.S. Attorney. The maximum they could get is 20 years in prison and fines for each of five counts of fraud.Many of the borrowers in the case received notices of default and eventually faced foreclosure.
Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!