A 71-year-old Sacramento attorney has pleaded no contest to a felony count of grand theft and three misdemeanor counts of collecting illegal upfront fees for loan modification services.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin McCormick today sentenced Frank Ferris to five years of formal probation and ordered him to serve one year in the county jail. Ferris also was ordered to pay $72,271.90 in victim restitution.
While representing a victim in a civil case, Ferris, a licensed attorney, received $10,000 in trust to apply toward a settlement of the victim's legal matter. Instead, Ferris misappropriated the funds for his personal use, causing a default judgment to be entered against the victim, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.
The victim later discovered the judgment and had to hire another attorney to vacate the judgment and resolve the matter.
In addition, Ferris failed to return $50,000 he received as an investment from another client and instead wrote that client non-sufficient-fund checks, officials said.
In a separate matter, Ferris was involved with Turbo Mortgage Modification, a business that provided mortgage modification services. On multiple occasions, he demanded and collected illegal upfront payments from clients before services were performed, according to the news release.
Given his age and health conditions, the Sheriff's Department may allow Ferris to serve his time through alternative sentencing. He has been disbarred by the State Bar of California.
Two other people, Ashik Azeez and Vicente Perez, who were involved in the loan modification business with Ferris, were previously convicted and sentenced on misdemeanor charges.
The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office's Real Estate Fraud Unit.