Blair Christopher Hanloh faces up to five years and eight months in prison at his Dec. 13 sentencing after jurors found him guilty recently of five counts of filing false and forged documents to take over five homes in Anaheim, Dana Point and San Clemente he did not own so he could rent them out to others.
The Long Beach 50-year-old could have been on the hook for eight more months in the can as the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of guilty on a count of second-degree commercial burglary. Prosecutors had previously accused Hanloh of a $3.5 million theft.
Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce told City News Service he has not decided whether to seek another trial on the deadlocked felony.
"We're very gratified by the jury's verdict," Pierce said. "The most important thing is Mr. Hanloh's conduct has to stop. He said during the trial that he has tried some sort of variation on the scheme with 50 to 75 properties in the state. ... This conduct has real victims and real serious consequences."
Hanloh's attorney, Stacy Kelly of the Orange County Public Defender's Office, did not dispute during the trial that her client filed quitclaim deeds against the five homes. She argued he sought "abandoned" homes, took control of the "distressed" properties through a legal maneuver called adverse possession and then renovated and rented them out as part of his "nuisance abatement" mission. Operating as trustee of Diversified Management Trust, Hanloh did not knowingly file false documents, Kelly claimed.
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However, one man was in negotiations with his lender to hold onto his Anaheim Hills property that Hanloh took control over. The case against him began on March 18, 2010, when the homeowner called Anaheim Police to his Rainview Court resident about "squatters." They were actually renters making payments to Hanloh.
One of Hanloh's partners found squatting in a San Clemente home was later evicted, and a Dana Point home Hanloh rented out actually was a foreclosure owned by JP Morgan Chase.
"I would like to congratulate Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his department on a job well done," said Orange County Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen in a conviction statement. "Our office has been working closely with the District Attorney's Real Estate Fraud Unit to find ways to prevent these crimes from happening in the future."