Fraud, forgery, rent skimming among counts against repeat offender.
It only took an hour for a San Fernando jury to convict James Anthony Rojas of grand theft, forgery and other criminal charges involving real estate foreclosure and investment fraud. Several of Rojas’ victims lived in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Deputy District Attorney David Fleck of the Real Estate Fraud Unit said 51-year-old Rojas faces a potential state prison term of at least five years when he is sentenced on Sept. 8 by San Fernando Superior Court Judge Alice Hill. Rojas remains in custody.
Rojas was convicted of 14 felony counts of grand theft, forgery and attempting to file false or forged grant and trust deeds. He also was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of rent skimming.
Victims of the crimes included a Long Beach man who made a $50,000 investment into the defendant’s foreclosure business with a promise of a return of his principal plus $10,000 in 60 days. He never received the funds.
Rojas forged the deed to Julia Miller’s home and took out a loan using the property as collateral, which went into foreclosure. Miller hired an attorney, who was able to save their home, but the financial nightmare created by Rojas was horrific.
“He created a massive problem for us financially,” Miller told KHTS. “And I think five years is just a slap on the wrist. He’s done this before 10 years ago and they gave him 18 months. When he’s done with this sentence, he’ll go right back out and do it again.”
Miller will be one of the victims in court Sept. 8 to give a victim’s statement to Judge Hill.
Another victim was a man who lives in the Philippines but maintained a condominium in Long Beach. He bought the condo in 2003. In July 2005, he found a notice to terminate residency on his door from a company that said it owned the property. Forged documents had been used to transfer the property.
Other victims included renters who made $1,000-plus deposits on homes in Long Beach and Sunland. Rojas, said Fleck, had no connection to the property.
The crimes occurred between 2005 and 2007.