|For Immediate Release
Case # 06CF3339
April 18, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
LOAN OFFICER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN
PRISON FOR STEALING MORE THAN $550,000 FROM HOMEOWNERS, FORCING THEM INTO FORECLOSURE
SANTA ANA – A loan officer was sentenced today to 10 years in state prison for stealing more than $550,000 from homeowners who were attempting to refinance their homes. James Matthew Osborn, Trabuco Canyon, pleaded no contest to the court on January 24, 2008 to 70 felony counts of grand theft, three felony counts of attempted grand theft, and one felony count of residential burglary. The defendant also admitted the sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and crime-bail-crime were true. A “crime-bail-crime” enhancement indicates that the defendant committed a crime while out on bail for another offense. Osborn was sentenced to 10 years in state prison and ordered to pay $552,798 in restitution to the victims.
Between September 2003 and February 2007, Osborn worked as a loan officer for several mortgage companies. Each of the victims sought assistance from Osborn to help them refinance their homes or take out new loans. Many of the victims lived out of state and were contacted by Osborn after making online inquiries. The defendant used his position as a loan officer to gain the trust of the victims and convinced them to pay him directly for appraisals or various home fees. The defendant had the victims wire him money, pay him in cash, and in one case picked up the money from a victim’s home. He instructed the victims to send him their mortgage payments under the false pretense of helping them by serving as the liaison between the victims and the bank.
More than 15 families were victimized by Osborn, and 10 of those families lost their homes through foreclosure as a result of the theft. Many of the victims suffered a dramatic decrease to their credit scores, were forced into bankruptcy, and lost their life savings. One family lost their home of 50 years, where they had planted a tree in remembrance of one of their children, who had died.
The case was brought to light after an executive from a company where Osborn has previously been employed filed a report with the Santa Ana Police Department after becoming aware that he had been stealing money from clients. While out on bail for his crimes, Osborn continued to steal from victims by resuming his criminal business practices.
Deputy District Attorney George McFetridge of the Economic Crimes Unit prosecuted this case.