7 On Your Side's Michael Finney first broke this story a year ago and it gets more and more curious.
A judge Friday fined Alan David Tikal $10,000 and sentenced him to 16 months in jail, time he already served while awaiting trial. That means he's free to go. However, still hanging over Tikal's head is an outstanding arrest warrant and a federal investigation.
Judge Cecilia Castellanos put it bluntly saying, "The defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the crimes." Tikal pleaded no contest to two counts of mortgage fraud late last year. He was held in Santa Rita Jail on $780,000 bail after his arrest last year on a 29-count grand jury indictment.
The defense says the defendant has learned his lesson and will undo what he did to the 14 victims. "He's trying to move forward. He's plead to two counts. So now, it's his way of helping right any wrongs," attorney Fanya Young said.
Tikal agreed to relinquish control of any properties he gained from 14 homeowners while posing as a private banker. The 14 homeowners are now eligible for restitution, but none of them have filed any claims against Tikal.
"I actually feel bad for the victims. I feel bad for the homeowners because at this point, they are still believing that there's going to be some miracle, some way that through this scam that Mr. Tikal is perpetuating, that they are going to be able to save their homes" prosecutor David Lim said.
Federal agents say in a request for a search warrant that Tikal's mortgage rescue "scheme continued to operate while Tikal was incarcerated and after his release." Investigators accuse Tikal of operating out of a home in the Contra Costa County town of Brentwood. They say he bilked about 600 home owners in California, Nevada and beyond, and defrauded mortgage holders and lenders of more than $201 million. Authorities served a search warrant at the home in December and seized computers, files and other records. That investigation is described as ongoing.
"He is cooperating with any sort of investigation. He has been cooperating and I imagine if that if they want to get more information, that he would still cooperate with them," Young said.
Bruce Blankenhorn and Luis DeLeon are also named as suspects in the federal investigation and both await trial in Alameda County. Tikal's fiance Tamara Silva and Brandon Le, a man who hosted webinars recruiting new clients, are also suspects.
Tikal's probation report indicates he was convicted in Minnesota in 2007 for receiving more than $2,500 in stolen property. The report goes on to say he violated the terms and conditions of probation and that a warrant for the arrest of Alan David Tikal was issued in July 2011.
Authorities in Minnesota declined to extradite Tikal back to their state due to budget problems so for now, Tikal is a free man.