A Vietnamese American woman was arrested in California Wednesday for reportedly running a fraudulent foreclosure scheme that cheated several people of more than US$2 million.
Nguyen Thi Tuong Loan, a 43-year-old Vietnamese American, of Westminster, and Lynn Eichenberger, 42, of Chatsworth, cheated 17 Vietnamese-Americans with the real estate investment fraud.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office said on its website that Loan and Lynn have been charged with grand theft, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit grand theft.
If convicted, Loan who faces other charges of forgery and false recording of documents, can receive a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison while Eichenberger a term of 22 years and eight months.
The scheme was conducted between August and December 2009, when Loan was a licensed real estate broker managing two companies, Suncoast Mortgage Corporation and Suncoast Investment Realty.
Loan solicited victims by claiming to have investment opportunities in foreclosure properties, telling them that the homes could be purchased at a low price and instructing them to pay 50 percent of the cost up front.
The money was then transferred from Loan's escrow account to a business account set up by Lynn.
In the second scheme, Loan is accused of soliciting people who were distressed and facing foreclosure.
She instructed the victims to pay 50 percent of the balance owed on the mortgage with the false promise of using those funds to refinance and secure a lower loan payment. The victims borrowed money to pay Loan, which was also transferred later to the business account.
The defendants are accused of then draining the money from Eichenberger's account and telling the victims that the deal had fallen through.
Several victims reported the issue to the Westminster Police Department, who began investigating the case, which was later joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Real Estate.