The ringleader in a Carlsbad, California-based scam that tricked mostly Spanish-speaking homeowners into paying for a bogus service to stave off foreclosure was convicted of 160 felony counts by a San Diego jury Tuesday, according to the district attorney’s office.
William Hutchings, 62, of San Diego faces 49 years in prison on the convictions that included conspiracy, grand theft, rent skimming and violations of the mortgage foreclosure consultant law, district attorney’s spokesman Steve Walker said.
After Tuesday’s conviction, he was taken into custody and ordered held without bail until his April 27 sentencing, Walker said.
Hutchings and his conspirators worked to scam more than 400 families in San Diego and Riverside counties by offering a foreclosure prevention service based on “land grants,” in which the company placed title of the property into a federal program that trumped the banks’ right to the property, Walker said.
No such program exists.
In some cases, the defendants charged as much as $10,000, plus monthly rent, for the fake grant programs, according to authorities.
Five other codefendants have already pleaded guilty, and four more are awaiting trial, Walker said.