Three people were detained on Thursday for allegedly planning a massive identity theft and home renovation loan fraud. According to the prosecution, this defrauded lenders of $3.4 million.
Norbertas Sinica, 37, of Thousand Oaks, Selena Garcia, 27, of Riverside, and Kelliams S. Chavistad, 42, of Long Beach, will be charged on Friday in downtown Los Angeles.
The three are accused of taking part in a scam that gave homeowners almost free energy-efficient home improvements in exchange for their names. These were then used to apply for loans that put assessments on the victims’ property tax bills.
District Attorney George Gascón Speaks
District Attorney George Gascón reports, “This alleged scam preyed on low-income homeowners, many of whom were elderly and could not understand English.”
They believed they were receiving a discount on house upgrades. But they instead ended up living in constant dread of losing their homes.
Let these accusations be a warning to anyone who might try to scam people in Los Angeles County. We will work hard to stop your plans and hold you accountable.
159 felonies, including burglary, identity theft, financial elder abuse, false personation, forgery, and grand theft, are being brought against Sinica.
Chavistad is facing 91 criminal charges, while Garcia is accused of 102 identical offenses.
32 Homeowners Listed as Victims in the Criminal Complaint
Prosecutors claim that Sinica was the owner of a company named Eco Technology that promoted tankless water heaters and other goods.
Chavistad and Garcia were employed by the business as sales representatives.
The company called homeowners in 2018 and 2019 to make sales pitches about upgrading their homes’ energy efficiency for little to no money.
Prosecutors claim that after the salesperson obtained the residents’ personal data, it was used to apply for loans under the Property Assessed Clean Energy programme.
That enables homeowners to fund energy improvement projects through an assessment on their real estate tax bills.
The assessments were added to the victim homes’ tax bills. But the loan revenues went to Eco Technology.
Most of the targeted homeowners didn’t know these loans were being made until they got property tax bills that were higher than usual.