Merced and Placer Counties Foreclosure Rescue Scheme Results in Arrest
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 21, 2011|
FRESNO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that John Marcus Desenberg, 44, formerly of Newbury Park, Calif., was arrested today by FBI agents in Southern California. On November 17, 2011, Desenberg was charged in a 10-count indictment unsealed today alleging mail fraud.
According to the indictment, Desenberg was purportedly in the business of rescuing homeowners from foreclosure. Doing business as Creative Lending Solutions, Desenberg offered homeowners a “Fresh Start” program that would find an investor to purchase homes from distressed homeowners. Some of the proceeds of the sale would be used to make mortgage payments for the next 12 months. The property owners were allowed to stay in the homes and work on repairing their credit so that at the end of the period, they could obtain new mortgages and purchase their homes back from the investors.
According to the indictment, Desenberg made false representations that he would be monitoring the situation for the next 12 months, and that he would ensure the investor made the mortgage payments. Although Desenberg made these promises, he did not monitor the 12-month credit-repair period, nor did he ensure the mortgage payments were being made. Eventually homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure, with more than $300,000 in equity lost.
U.S. Attorney Wagner said, “Mortgage fraud schemes victimize homeowners, not just mortgage lenders. Foreclosure rescue schemes target homeowners when they are most vulnerable—when they are in fear of losing their homes. We will continue to focus on detecting and prosecuting those who perpetrate such schemes.”
If convicted, Desenberg faces a maximum statutory penalty for each count of mail fraud of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to three years’ supervised release following incarceration. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Merced County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Michele Thielhorn and Jeremy Jehangiri are prosecuting the case.
The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.