SAN DIEGO -
An Oceanside attorney and a telemarketing salesman were arraigned in federal court Tuesday on a 50-count indictment charging them with defrauding thousands of homeowners in an $11 million "loan modification" fraud scheme.
Dean G. Chandler and 25-year-old Shelveen Singh -- and two other defendants previously arraigned -- are accused of using Chandler's Oceanside-based law firm, 1st American Law Center, to persuade victims to pay thousands of dollars each by deceptively touting 1ALC's purported success and legal resources, and falsely promising that 1ALC would successfully modify their residential mortgage loans.
"Mortgage modification scams prey on struggling and trusting homeowners," said Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation. "Today's court actions are a strong reminder of how serious our courts consider this criminal activity."
The defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly used high-pressure sales tactics and outright lies to prey on homeowners across the country who were struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments and were at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure.
The conspirators falsely promised to have a team of attorneys pre-screen client applications -- claiming that the attorneys only approved 30 percent of those seeking to use 1ALC's services -- and boasted of having a 98 percent success rate in obtaining loan modifications, the indictment alleges.
Chandler, 47, appeared in television commercials and on the company's websites as the attorney in charge of the company, soliciting customers throughout the United States, prosecutors said.
Chandler is charged along with telemarketers Singh and Anthony Calandriello, and call center manager Michael Eccles, with conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud through the operation of 1ALC.
Chandler is also charged with money laundering because he allegedly conducted financial transactions with the proceeds of the fraudulent conspiracy.