News Column

Two Modestans arrested on suspicion of swindling $900,000

May 30, 2014

By Garth Stapley, The Modesto Bee



May 30--Two Modesto men were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of swindling $903,500 from Texas real estate investors in an alleged mortgage fraud conspiracy with an Oakdale man and a woman currently held in the Stanislaus County jail.

Xue Heu, 37, and Dick Price, 71, duped Texas victims into sending money for foreclosed properties, then provided bogus deeds to cover their tracks and disappeared with the cash, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed up last week in San Antonio.

The men also bilked victims in the Modesto area and will face more federal charges here, said Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager, whose real estate fraud unit cooperated with authorities in Texas.

Mark Steven Thompson, who reportedly has lived in Oakdale, created websites to lure victims, the indictment says. Federal court documents say he was arrested in January, pleaded not guilty and was ordered to appear in a San Antonio courtroom Monday.

Also charged is Carla Lee Miller, 42, who is in local custody facing counts of drug possession and burglary. A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday signed an order for her to be extradited to San Antonio for a June 12 hearing.

The indictment says Heu, Price and Miller, using false names, pretended to represent the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From August to February, the document says, they sought buyers for distressed properties repossessed in foreclosure actions without authority to do so.

Price, whose full name is Thomas Dickey Price, used the aliases Albert Martin and Matt Taylor, while Heu went by Michael Chan and Miller went by Susan Marsh, the indictment says. They pretended to sell eight properties in San Antonio and Houston, and five in undisclosed California cities, as agents of Greenfield Advisors and Escrow Professionals, and had down-payment money wired to their banks, the indictment says.

Thompson's Cal East Escrow and Miller's Norstate Escrow, with Manteca and Modesto addresses, also featured in the scam, the indictment says.

Texas authorities seized vehicles, jewelry and $254,300 from the suspects' bank accounts, a court document says.

Fladager on Thursday said the Modesto-area cases will be handled by federal prosecutors in cooperation with the FBI and her own investigators.

"This is a good indicator of how well we work in conjunction with federal authorities to hold criminals accountable who prey upon our residents," Fladager said.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee.com or (209) 578-2390.

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(c)2014 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)

Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at www.modbee.com

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Source: Modesto Bee (CA)


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