Mortgage rescue scheme suspects appear in court

February 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Three suspects in a mortgage rescue scheme surrendered to authorities in Alameda County on Tuesday.

7 On Your Side reported last week that the Alameda County grand jury named four people in a 29-count indictment on charges of real estate fraud, mortgage security fraud, and filing false documents.

Three of the suspects appeared in court after agreeing to surrender. Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta ordered the three defendants to turn in their passports and stay in California. She set bail for Bruce Blankenhorn and Luis De Leon at $50,000. Bail for Linda Voss was set at $10,000.

Judge Panetta says the three are accused of bilking vulnerable victims in dire financial straits and that the public must be protected. But the defense attorney for Blankenhorn and De Leon, Julia Jayne, said her clients are victims in this whole scheme.

"Frankly, to this day, they really have no idea whether it was legitimate or not. They were persuaded that this was... they put their own home through this process. That just goes to show how persuaded they were that this was a legitimate operation," said Jayne.

"I believe that ultimately in a court of law they will be found guilty and held accountable for their actions," said prosecutor David Lim.

The suspected mastermind in this case was arrested in Las Vegas and is being held on $780,000 bail. A hearing for Alan David Tikal is scheduled for Thursday.


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