On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, Domonic McCarns, 41, of Irvine, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his participation in a nationwide foreclosure-rescue scam.
McCarns is the final defendant to be sentenced for a pair of schemes that lured homeowners with the promise to help them avoid foreclose and repair their credit. Two indictments were brought in 2008. Four defendants were convicted after two jury trials, 13 defendants pleaded guilty, and now, all 17 defendants have been sentenced. On September 9, 2013, Charles Head was sentenced to 35 years i prison, and on October 29, 2014, his brother and fellow leader in the scheme Jeremy Michael Head was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
According to court documents, the defendants solicited homeowners facing foreclosure, and through misrepresentations, fraud, and forgery, substituted straw buyers for the victim homeowners on the titles of properties without the homeowners’ knowledge. These strawbuyers were often friends and family members of the defendants applied for mortgages to extract the maximum available equity from the homes. The defendants then shared the proceeds of the ill-gotten equity and the “rent” that the victim homeowners paid them. Ultimately, the victim homeowners were left with no home, no equity, and with damaged credit ratings.
Initially, the scam focused on the distressed homeonwers in California before expanding throughout the United States. In the course of the schemes, between January 2004 and June 2006, the defendants obtained over $90 million in fraudulent loans, caused estimated losses of $50 million, and stole title to over 300 homes.
On December 2, 2013, McCarns was convicted after a five-week trial along with Charles Head, 36, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, (formerly of Los Angeles); and Benjamin Budoff, 46, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Head had been previously convicted in a trial in a nearly four-week trial in May 2013 with his brother Jeremy Michael Head, 34, of Huntington Beach.