Man charged in multimillion-dollar foreclosure fraud scheme found competent to stand trial

Hundreds of victims discovered throughout SoCal

SAN DIEGO - A 60-year-old man charged in a multimillion-dollar foreclosure fraud scheme in which notaries' identities were stolen and hundreds of deeds were forged around the state was found competent Friday to stand trial.

David Zepeda is the last of four defendants to go through criminal proceedings in the case. He was hospitalized in San Bernardino County for an undisclosed medical condition after he was charged in September 2010.

The defendants, including Zepeda, were accused of acquiring titles to properties by forging quitclaim deeds or convincing homeowners to transfer the property to them by promising the homeowner they would help avoid foreclosure.

Once they had acquired the title, Zepeda and his brother John would rent out the property, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, hundreds of victims were discovered in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino counties, as well as in Clark County, Nevada.

Authorities said they seized $335,000 in checks that hadn’t been cashed along with $33,000 in cash. They also found more than $8,000 in silver coins, gold watches and rings, and a Bentley automobile when they searched David Zepeda's home.

His brother John Zepeda and two other men pleaded guilty to various charges in 2012.

John Zepeda pleaded guilty to, among other things, rent skimming, forgery, identity theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft. He was sentenced to 12 years in state prison and agreed to pay $6 million restitution.

Similar charges are lodged against David Zepeda.

Judge Amalia Meza scheduled his trial for May 20, court officials said.

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