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A West Hollywood man was sentenced to 12 years and 6 months in federal prison on Aug. 2 for orchestrating a real estate fraud scheme that victimized more than 2,000 homeowners.
The defendant’s scheme involved fraudulent filings that affected the title to properties across the country and caused more than $7 million in losses, federal authorities said.
United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer sentenced Patrick Joseph Soria, 35. The judge called Soria “a skillful conman who created a very sophisticated scheme” and added that it was “the most brazen and heartless” he had seen as a jurist. A restitution hearing is scheduled on Oct. 25.
Soria pleaded guilty on March 2 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of contempt of court. From January 2015 to June 2018, Soria stole money from homeowners and would-be home buyers through a two-pronged scheme.
Soria obtained titles to properties through fraudulent filings at county recorders’ offices around the country. He faked the filings to make it appear that he owned the properties, and then sold the properties to victims who thought they were buying the homes from the true owner. Soria never owned the homes, and instead used the victims’ money for personal expenses including escort services, rooms at luxury hotels, and Bentley and Lamborghini car rentals.
In the second part of the scheme, Soria convinced homeowners that he could help them with their mortgages, either by assisting with a loan modification or by taking over their mortgage from a lender. He promised to reduce their mortgage payments and convinced owners that he was trying to help them.
“Mr. Soria turned their hopes into a nightmare,” Fischer said during sentencing.
After gaining the victims’ trust, Soria convinced homeowners to stop paying their real lender and to start paying him. Through more fraudulent filings, Soria deceived his victims into believing he had taken over their mortgages. He also falsely convinced victims to do nothing to protect themselves when they received foreclosure and eviction notices. Many of the homeowners targeted in the scheme lost their properties, prosecutors said.
Soria admitted in court documents that losses to victims totaled more than $7.6 million. The properties were located in Texas, New York, Nevada and California, including the city of Beverly Hills.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department, Beverly Hills Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
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