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Last Conviction In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

The leader of a Nevada City-based nationwide mortgage fraud scheme has been convicted. A federal jury in Sacramento has found 57-year-old James Castle guilty of 35 counts. Prosecutors say between April of 2010 and November of 2011 Castle ran a “mortgage elimination program” that purported to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure. Assistant U-S attorney, Audrey Hemesath, says the conspirators fraudulently altered the chain of title on residential properties and sold the properties…

click to listen to Audrey Hemesath

Hemesath says that was around eight to ten-million dollars from 30 to 40 homes across the country. But another 100 or so homes also had fake documents that could have brought in 65-million, had the scheme not been halted. And as a requirement for participation in the program, Hemesath says the conspirators enrolled homeowners as members in a Nevada City-based church named Shon-te-East-a, Walks with Spirit. But she says it wasn’t an actual brick-and-mortar facility…

click to listen to Audrey Hemesath

It’s also the first jury trial in the Eastern District of California since the pandemic began, in March of 2020. Castle is the last of nine defendants to either be convicted or to plead guilty. He had fled to Australia and New Zealand in 2011 and wasn’t extradited back until May of 2020.

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