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Press Release

Seal Beach Man Pleads Guilty in Foreclosure Rescue Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California
Defendant’s Illegal Conduct Allegedly Continued after $5 Million Sanction by Judge

Riverside, California – A Seal Beach man has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges related to a mortgage rescue scheme in which he made false promises to the distressed homeowner, filed fraudulent bankruptcies to delay foreclosure and rented the property to third parties as the foreclosure proceedings were delayed.

Terry Meisinger, 74, appeared before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips on Tuesday morning and pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud.

Meisinger admitted he defrauded a distressed homeowner by inducing him to sign a quitclaim in exchange for promises that included negotiating a short-sale agreement with his lender that would free the homeowner from his mortgage on a property in North Las Vegas, Nevada. But, instead, Meisinger caused a deed of trust to be recorded on the property, which was followed by a fraudulent bankruptcy on behalf of the person who supposedly now held an interest in the home. Meanwhile, Meisinger rented out the home to another person while foreclosure proceedings were stayed as a result of the fraudulent bankruptcy.

Meisinger “repeated the process of causing the recording of deeds of trusts in the names of various beneficiaries whose identities he controlled and causing the filing of bankruptcies on behalf of those lenders to delay the foreclosure proceedings, while collecting rents” on property in North Las Vegas, according to the plea agreement filed in this case.

Meisinger admitted in court this week that he repeated this scheme with approximately 150 properties between 1999 and 2014 and gained more than $1.5 million from this scheme. Altogether, Meisinger admitted there were at least 50 victims of his scheme, which included homeowners, lenders and renters.

Meisinger also admitted that his illegal conduct violated Judge Phillips’ court order in a prior civil matter barring Meisinger from participating in the home finance or real estate industries for 10 years (see: Meisinger was also barred from filing bankruptcy petitions. In that civil action, Judge Phillips had imposed a $5 million civil fine on Meisinger.

As a result of the guilty pleas, Meisinger faces a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison, as well as a $3 million fine. Judge Phillips is scheduled to sentence him on December 21.

The criminal case against Meisinger is the result of an investigation by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General (HUD-OIG).

Updated May 7, 2018

Press Release Number: 15-109