Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives from the fraud section of the Department’s Commercial Crimes Division have arrested one of two suspects who stole more than $60,000 from three victims in a fraudulent loan modification scam.
On July 23, 2010, around 10 a.m., detectives arrested 42-year-old Ana Linares for grand theft, money laundering and burglary. Her accomplice, Maryori Deybi Muralles, is still at large and a felony warrant has been issued for her arrest. The two suspects worked together as “loan modification specialists” but neither were licensed nor worked for a broker or attorney. After approaching their victims and claiming they worked for Samsarah Financial Services, they handed out business cards and offered their services for a $2,000 fee.
Unfortunately, all three victims paid the suspects all or part of the service fee and two of the victims gave the suspects their mortgage payments and/or property taxes as part of the scam. The suspects then deposited the money into various personal bank accounts and used it for other purposes.
Linares was originally arrested in LAPD’s 77th Division for grand theft last Oct. 5 after she arrived at the home of one of her victims who had alerted police. She was later released and re-interviewed, during which time she implicated Muralles as her partner in the loan modification scam. An extensive investigation confirmed the two suspects were working together.
Detectives believe Linares and Muralles have been taking advantage of the economic and real estate market downturn by targeting Spanish-speaking individuals. Essentially, the suspects focused on victims with language barriers who had difficulty paying their mortgages and lacked knowledge about complex loan modification processes. They gave the victims a sense of hope that they wouldn’t lose their homes. But in the end, the victims were scammed out of thousands of dollars and in risk of foreclosure.
Anyone with information about the location of suspect Muralles is asked to call CCD Detective Ernest Munoz at 213-486-8714. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.