Californian gets 12 years in prison for “most brazen and ruthless” mortgage fraud

A West Hollywood man who defrauded more than 2,000 homeowners and caused $ 7.6 million in losses was sentenced Monday to more than 12 and a half years in federal prison, authorities said.

Patrick Soria, 35, was “a clever con artist who created a very sophisticated ploy,” US District Judge Dale S. Fischer said, according to a statement from the US District Attorney’s Office.

“It’s not the biggest deal I’ve chaired in dollar terms, but it’s the most cheeky and cruel,” Fischer said.

Prosecutors said Soria was leading the nationwide mortgage fraud scheme. He made false statements to the county registrars’ offices claiming to own properties which he then sold.

He used the money to fund a lifestyle that included escort services, stays in luxury hotels and the rental of luxury cars, like a Lamborghini, prosecutors said.

Soria also defrauded some homeowners by befriending them and convincing them that he could reduce their mortgage payments by modifying their loans or taking over their mortgages from their lenders, prosecutors said.

“After winning the trust of the victims, Soria convinced the homeowners to stop paying their real lender and start paying him,” and many lost their homes, the statement said.

The properties involved were in states such as California, Texas, New York and Nevada, prosecutors said.

Soria pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and contempt of court.