Press Release Date:
January 13, 2011
Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit has filed a felony complaint against Maria Victoria Santos (aka Vicky Santos, DOB 10/07/55) of Ventura, Felipe Carlos Segovia Castro (aka Felipe Carlos, DOB 11/20/43) of Moreno Valley, Laura Cecilia Carlson (DOB 10/18/46) of Hacienda Heights, and Margie Joanna Vargas (DOB 02/12/88) of the city of Orange.
The felony complaint charges Santos with 11 counts of foreclosure consultant fraud and seven counts of grand theft. Castro is charged with one count of foreclosure consultant fraud. Carlson, a licensed real estate salesperson, is charged with two counts of foreclosure consultant fraud. Vargas, a licensed notary public, is charged with two counts of foreclosure consultant fraud.
The charges filed against the four defendants arise out of a fraudulent home foreclosure rescue program run primarily under the business name of “USA Home Recovery Service” by Santos from her office located at 1701 West Fifth Street in Oxnard, California. Santos, along with the other charged defendants, targeted predominantly monolingual Spanish-speaking residents of Ventura County facing foreclosure on their homes. Santos, along with the other defendants, are accused of collecting thousands of dollars in upfront fees from their victims while promising to “save” their homes from foreclosure. Victims received no actual services from the charged defendants and not only lost thousands of dollars, but also their homes through foreclosure proceedings.
Santos was arrested in Ventura, California, and Castro and Carlson were arrested in Pomona, California, on January 13, 2011. The arrests were the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit.
If convicted, Santos faces a maximum sentence in state prison of 14 years, 4 months; Carlson and Vargas face maximum state prison sentences of 3 years and 8 months; and Castro faces a maximum sentence in state prison of 3 years.
Santos advertised her services on local radio stations broadcasting in Spanish to monolingual Spanish residents of Ventura County. Individuals who believe they have been victimized by Santos, or others working with her, are encouraged to contact the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit at (805) 662-1750 in order to file a complaint.
Dominic Kardum, Deputy District Attorney