Alan David Tikal entered his plea just hours before jury selection was to begin in his trial on a 29 count grand jury indictment on mortgage fraud. Prosecutors say this plea means the 15 victims it named in this case are now eligible for restitution.
Alan David Tikal has been in jail since being arrested in Las Vegas on a grand jury indictment in February. Prosecutors accuse him of posing as a private banker, then refinancing the mortgages of distressed homeowners. The grand jury determined it was all part of a conspiracy to defraud people out of their property. On Monday, Tikal pled no contest to one felony count of filing false documents to transfer the property from the bank to himself. He also pled no contest to illegally accepting advanced fees for a loan modification.
"Our goal in this matter has always been to alert the public that the scam or the program that Mr. Tikal was running was a scam," said Deputy District Attorney David Lim.
Tikal agreed to pay any amount of restitution the judge ordered, but it also means the other 27 counts against Tikal have been dropped.
"When you look at the difference between 29 counts and the exposure of 29 counts versus pleading to two counts, it only makes sense to basically cut your losses," said defense attorney Fanya Young.
None of the victims named in the case ever agreed to talk on camera to 7 On Your Side, but plenty of people outside of Alameda County did talk to us.
"I think he lied to me and because he promised one thing, and then after six months, I never hear from them again," said Willy Ruiz from San Francisco.
"You know what, I got conned because I was willing to believe something that was unbelievable," said Mike from Los Angeles.
"I finally figured out it was a scam. You know, it was a last ditch hope, so I had a lot of hope in the system, even though it was wrong," said Greg Friedman from Chicago.
Only those victims in Alameda County specifically named in the indictment are eligible for restitution, but the prosecutor says the conviction shows this was all a scam.
"Any doubt that anybody might have that this program is somehow legitimate or lawful has been shown not to be true by these convictions today," said Lim.
Tikal is expected to be sentenced to 16 months in state prison and ordered to pay restitution. It's likely he will get credit for time already served in prison and not serve any additional prison time. The judge agreed to let Tikal out of jail on his own recognizance.