2 Charged for Forging Signatures in Straw Buyer Scam

Allison Tussey —  February 21, 2012 — Leave a comment

Antonio Pena, 39, Moorpark, California, and Claudia Xochitl Gil, 38, San Fernando, California, are the subjects of a felony complaint by the. Gil currently holds a real estate broker’s license issued by the California Department of Real Estate and was formerly a licensed notary public.

The felony complaint charges Pena with two counts of grand theft and one count of money laundering. Pena is also charged with excessive taking enhancements for stealing over $65,000 in one transaction, and stealing over $200,000 in a second transaction. Pena is also charged with an aggravated white-collar crime enhancement for having stolen more than $100,000 while committing two or more related felonies. If the aggravated white-collar crime enhancement is proven, the defendant can be ordered to serve his sentence in state prison. The felony complaint charges Gil with three counts of forgery and two counts of fraud related to a deed of trust. The charges are the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit with the assistance of the Moorpark Police Department.

The charges arose out of a fraudulent real estate transaction that closed escrow in 2005 concerning a home located at 4855 Penrose Avenue, Moorpark, California. Pena used a straw borrower to obtain two mortgage loans totaling over $500,000 in the course of refinancing the debt on the Penrose Avenue property. After the loans funded, Pena took the excess proceeds from the refinance transaction and caused a portion of these monies to be deposited into a financial institution. Gil forged the signatures of multiple individuals involved in this real estate transaction and fraudulently notarized signatures on deeds of trust that were recorded at the Ventura County Recorder’s Office.

Pena was arrested in Moorpark, on February 15, 2012. An arrest warrant in the amount of $10,000 was issued for Gil on February 14, 2012. If convicted on all charges, Pena faces a maximum state prison sentence of six years, eight months. If convicted on all charges, Gil faces a maximum time in custody of four years eight months.

District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced the charges.  The complaint was filed by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit.

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Allison Tussey

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