A 35-year-old man has been charged with felony crimes in a phone scam in which victims lost more than $50,000 after he falsely promised to refinance their mortgages and reduce their monthly payments, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced today.
Sajid Quilatan Geronimo, who was arrested on Nov. 26 at Los Angeles International Airport, was arraigned today in Superior Court in San Jose on four charges of elder abuse and four counts of grand theft, but has not yet entered a plea, district attorney’s office spokesman Sean Webby said.
Geronimo, who is being held on $500,000 bail at the county’s main jail, faces more than 10 years of prison time if he is convicted on all counts, according to Webby.
Geronimo, of Anaheim, is accused of targeting elderly Filipino-Americans in a scheme that resulted in at least five victims in the county losing more than $50,000, prosecutors said.
In December 2012, Geronimo, using the name James Alkin or James Arkin, telephoned an elderly victim saying he was a mortgage loan officer working for a firm called HLA Processing out of Orange County, according to prosecutors.
The defendant got the victim to recommend him to four others and promised to dramatically reduce their monthly mortgage payments by refinancing their home mortgages at lower interest rates and preventing the threat of foreclosure, according to the district attorney’s office.
Geronimo allegedly sent victims fraudulent loan applications on fake Citibank Mortgage letterhead and then instructed them to deposit their money into an escrow account for HLA Processing that was really his personal account, prosecutors said.
He falsely told two of the victims he represented a government program that would help them recover from a foreclosure or short sale if they made a cash deposit, according to prosecutors.
In addition to the five victims located so far in the county, one other was located in Riverside County and investigators believe Geronimo may have defrauded people in Orange County and in Washington state, prosecutors said.
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