SACRAMENTO — A mother and daughter were charged this week with conducting a 19-month mortgage fraud scheme that drained lenders of approximately $5 million.
The criminal complaint against Helen and Irene Sotiriadis of Manteca was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown. Heading off information from the FBI that the mother-daughter real estate team may have intended to flee to Greece, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows issued arrest warrants Sunday afternoon.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell L. Carlberg, who is prosecuting the case, an affidavit filed by a special agent of the FBI alleges that Helen and Irene Sotiriadis recruited as many as 25 members of the Cambodian immigrant community to purchase homes they could not afford in and around Stockton and Modesto. Helen Sotiriadis, 49, and 23-year-old daughter Irene Sotiriadis promised the Cambodians that, after one initial high monthly payment, the homes would be refinanced to a payment of only $1,500 per month. After the initial monthly mortgage payments of $4,000 came due, the suspects refused to return phone calls to the victims, according to the affidavit. Most of the homes quickly fell into foreclosure.
An arraignment and detention hearing was scheduled to be held Monday afternoon before Judge Hollows.
The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of the federal mail fraud and wire fraud statutes is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, the actual sentence will be dictated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and will be imposed at the discretion of the court.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office.