crime and punishment

Prosecution of foreclosure fraud hits higher gear in Stanislaus County

STANISLAUS COUNTY — Authorities appear to be taking foreclosure fraud prosecution to a new level in Stanislaus County, with possible implications elsewhere in California.

A Turlock couple face felony charges of trying to stall foreclosure of their property by filing phony documents with the county recorder, similar to cases launched last month against four other homeowners in this county.

But this time, state prosecutors — not local — will handle the case. And court documents suggest that authorities may go after supposed masterminds accused of running a fraud scheme from Southern California.

“We have not filed anything yet against the so-called kingpins, but we’re not going to ignore where this case is leading,” said Leslie Westmoreland, deputy California attorney general.

Westmoreland recently filed a felony complaint against Blas and Nancy Arreola of Turlock alleging multiple counts of identity theft, recording false or forged documents, and fraud conspiracy.

Blas Arreola, 37, initially was arrested in June, and he and his 34-year-old wife are scheduled to appear Tuesday at an arraignment. A state prosecutor is expected to ask that they be held with bail set at $412,000 and $201,000, respectively — far more than in previous similar cases.

Rest here…

Way to step it up, prosecutors…