Two people were arrested today, accused of continuing a multistate scam that has defrauded homeowners in California and elsewhere while the alleged leader of the operation awaited trial.
Arrested were Tamara Teresa Tikal, 43 of Brentwood in Contra Costa County and Ray Jan Kornfeld, 57, of Las Vegas.
A federal grand jury in Sacramento on Wednesday returned a superseding indictment against Alan David Tikal, 45, adding charges for him and charging his wife Tamara Tikal and Kornfeld, who allegedly continued the scam while he was in custody awaiting trial, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. The indictment was unsealed after the arrests today.
According to court documents, beginning in January 2010, Alan Tikal operated a large-scale mortgage rescue scam by offering to eliminate homeowners' mortgages and replace their mortgage with a new debt to his company KATN Trust. He claimed the new loan would be for only 25 percent of the of the original principal.
Victims paid thousands of dollars in upfront fees and then made regular payments to him on their new loans, authorities said. Tikal and his associates instructed the victims not to pay their original mortgage and to ignore all correspondence from the original lenders. As a result, many of the victims lost their homes to foreclosure, authorities said.
Alan Tikal was arrested on Sept. 28, 2012 and indicted on charges of mail fraud.
Following his arrest, federal law enforcement authorities continued to investigate the case. In November 2012, they learned that the scheme was still going on and they searched KATN's Las Vegas office, seizing multiple computers and thousands of documents, officials said. Despite these actions, they learned that the scheme continued, with victim homeowners continuing to make payments to the defendants' company. According to the superseding indictment, Tamara Tikal and Kornfeld played central roles in continuing to operated the scheme.
A significant element of the continuing scheme has been an ongoing bankruptcy matter in the District of Nevada, filed in Alan Tikal's name, according to federal officials. Tikal has listed the property of many of his alleged client victims as his personal property,thus preventing the financial institutions holding interests in those properties from foreclosing on them.
In all, Tikal's alleged scheme has victimized more than a thousand homeowners, who have paid more than $3.4 million, federal authorities said. Of the identified victim homeowners, approximately 95 percent live in California, and at least 185 reside within the Eastern District of California, which includes the eastern part of the state from Bakersfield north to the Oregon border.
Alan Tikal is scheduled to go to trail on Feb. 3, 2014.