Posted May 27, 2008 05:01 pm CDT
Authorities say more than 400 struggling California homeowners, many of them Spanish-speaking, were tricked into paying up to $10,000 for worthless “land grants” and other bogus measures claimed to provide protection from foreclosure.
Four individuals have been arrested and a fifth is being sought in a case that involves over 100 felony counts, reports the Los Angeles Times. There are roughly 500 known victims in multiple Southern California counties, and more are expected to come forward after the arrests, according to officials.
A joint operation by San Diego County, state and federal authorities resulted in the arrests last week and the shutdown of Federal Land Grant Co., a business in San Diego. The state’s attorney general, Jerry Brown, has sued “individual defendants and the companies through which they operated: FLG Co. and Land Grant Services, both incorporated in California; Landis Business Services Inc., a suspended California corporation; and KBS Resources, incorporated in Nevada,” the Times recounts.
“There hasn’t been a legitimate use of the land grant since the conclusion of the Mexican-American War,” Brown says in a press release directed at consumers. “If some fast-talking scam artist offers a quick escape from foreclosure using archaic documents, be extremely suspicious.”