Arrest warrants have been issued for: Julita Whittingham, 47; Jessica Refuerzo, 55; and Edgardo Orcino, 57, each wanted on charges of grand theft in connection with a foreclosure fraud scam that gained national attention. The three are part of a group of people in San Diego County who are charged with defrauding homeowners out of more than $100,000.
Two other suspects in the case are already in custody, including Larry Smith, 60. Smith has been charged with grand theft and conspiracy. If convicted, he faces 37 years to life in prison. Smith and his accomplices sold “land patents” to homeowners facing foreclosure. He falsely told them the patents would make them a sovereign nation and protect them because the banks would not own the land or be able to come onto their property.
“The victims in this case were desperate to save their homes from foreclosure,” said DA Bonnie M. Dumanis. “They were preyed upon by these con artists, who promised help but instead stole their money.”
At least 17 victims have lost tens of thousands of dollars in the real estate scheme. The District Attorney’s investigation is ongoing. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the three suspects is asked to call (619) 572-3566.