Pair Sentenced in Fraudulent “Rent-A-Credit” Scheme

Press Release Date:

November 12, 2008

District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that Manuel “Manny” John Perez, Jr. (DOB 5/7/72), of Oxnard , was sentenced to the California Department of Corrections following his convictions for several real estate fraud-related crimes. Perez had previously pled guilty to four counts of grand theft, arising from his actions between May and September 2005, under the guise of his wholly-owned businesses, Case Bonita Realty, Creative Mortgage Solutions and Elite Escrow. Perez received a total sentence of ten years, eight months. His prison sentence included enhanced punishment for excessive taking and violating the aggravated white collar crime statute.

Perez, who was never licensed by the Department of Real Estate as a broker or agent, operated his real estate sales, financing and escrow businesses with former girlfriend and co-defendant, Michele Galindo (DOB 3/17/69), of Oxnard, who was a licensed real estate agent. The pair utilized a fraudulent “Rent-A-Credit” program to seek buyers for homes in which the buyers were purportedly helping others achieve home ownership. Galindo represented the buyers in real estate purchase transactions by submitting offers to purchase homes listed for sale. The employment and income information of such buyers to occupy the homes was misrepresented to lenders so the buyers could qualify to purchase the homes with 100 percent financing. After the transactions closed, Perez continued to maintain control of the properties for leasing to prospective tenants or his and Galindo’s own use. Moreover, the loan amounts utilized to purchase the homes were increased by tens of thousands of dollars above the actual contract sales price by use of inflated appraisals and phony sales contracts reflecting higher purchase prices. Once loan funding was secured, Perez liquidated excess funds by disbursement of checks from the Elite Escrow trust account.

The total fraudulent loan activity attributed to transactions which served as the basis of the nine felonies charged against Perez was $3,169,000 dollars. Through closing these transactions, it is estimated that Perez received at least $768,624 in ill-gotten gains. The actual restitution ordered by Judge Bruce Clark for the benefit of both individual and corporate victims was $1,487,809. Perez’s sentence also included punishment for charges of writing non-sufficient fund checks totaling $4,352.


Miles Weiss, Senior Deputy District Attorney