SANTA ANA – A 43-year-old Yorba Linda man, his brother and brother’s wife were given prison terms on Tuesday as part of their involvement in a $ 390,000 program involving loan modification companies primarily targeting Spanish-speaking victims throughout the state.
The leader, Carlos José Centeno, who pleaded guilty in January, was sentenced to one year in prison and seven years of formal probation. He is due to report to jail on October 30, according to court records.
Centeno’s brother Ricardo Torres Centeno, 36, of Anaheim, who also pleaded guilty in January, was sentenced to 150 days in prison and seven years probation. He is also due to report to prison on October 30.
Ricardo Centeno’s wife Lizeth Garcia Arzate, 37, who also pleaded guilty in January was sentenced to 90 days in prison and three years of formal probation. She is due to report to jail by February 12, according to court records.
Co-defendants Hector Alfredo Valdivia, 55, of Lake Elsinore, and Susie Rabadan, 36, of Anaheim, were to be sentenced on September 9, according to court records.
About two dozen victims have been exempted from fees for helping them renegotiate their home loans, prosecutors from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said when charges were filed in January 2015.
Carlos Centeno was the point guard, prosecutors said. He owned the seizure prevention department in Irvine and was an executive for Debt Settlers of America, based in Orange County.
It is illegal to charge an upfront fee for loan modification services, prosecutors said.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department led the investigation, prosecutors said.
Valdivia and Rabadan were seen as minor players in the scams from late 2009 to 2012, prosecutors said.