The third man who committed mail fraud in a loan modification scheme involving South Bay victims was sentenced Oct. 25 to one month in prison and ordered to pay $121,400 in restitution.
The sentence for Isidro Velasquez Jr., 39, of San Diego, is much less than the 57-month sentences handed down for two Chula Vista men who were considered more culpable in the scheme that ended with people losing their homes to foreclosure.
The prosecutor requested a nine-month sentence for Velasquez while his attorney requested six months in-home confinement. U.S. District Court Judge William Hayes allowed Velasquez to remain free on $10,000 bond until he surrenders on Nov. 15.
Jose Ruiz, 38, was the owner of the company and was sentenced July 18 by Hayes to 57 months and ordered to pay 289 families $1.12 million in restitution. Christian Hidalgo, 37, also got 57 months and ordered to pay $687,000 back to victims.
Velasquez pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud while Ruiz and Hidalgo pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering.
The scheme was discovered after the post office received 750 undeliverable solicitation letters in April 2011 that were sent by Ruiz and had incorrect return addresses. The firms offered to negotiate mortgage loan modifications with the victims’ lenders and Ruiz and Hidalgo told owners to stop sending payments to their mortgage lenders.
The money sent to Ruiz and Hidalgo mostly went to their businesses and most of the victims lost their homes to foreclosure. Ruiz came up with $10,000 in restitution in July.