You'll have to wait until Friday morning for the Ugly Police Mugshot of the Week, but check out these two first-runner ups. The babe on the left is Corina Jo Castillo, who was sentenced this week to six years in state prison for fatally stabbing her boyfriend--answering the question, "Does that have a boyfriend?" Over on the right is Lynn Eichenberger, who is accused of participating in a real estate scam that stung Vietnamese-Americans out of $2 million.
Jesse James "Buzz" Foster was arguing with Castillo in their West Broadway apartment in Anaheim shortly after midnight on June 17, 2010, when she plunged a kitchen knife into his back. The 28-year-old ran out the apartment and down a flight of stairs before collapsing. Neighbors called 9-1-1, and Buzz died several hours later at UCI Medical Center in Orange.
Castillo had followed her beau out of their apartment but did nothing to help him, continuing right on to a friend's home in Tustin, where she was later arrested. She pleaded guilty Wednesday to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. The judge then sentenced the 36-year-old beauty to six years in state prison.
Eichenberger, 42, of Chatsworth, joins Loan Thituong Nguyen, 43, of Westminster, in being charged with ripping off 17 people with the fraudulent real estate investment scheme. Between August and December 2009, Nguyen, a licensed real estate broker who managed Suncoast Mortgage Corporation and Suncoast Investment Realty, solicited members of the Vietnamese-American community for investment opportunities in foreclosed properties.
But, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), neither Nguyen nor Eichenberger had legal or financial claims to the properties, and therefore no ability to sell them to investors. As part of the scam, Nguyen convinced the investors to pay 50 percent of the cost of the homes upfront, money that was then transferred from her escrow account to a business account set up by Eichenberger, according to prosecutors.
Nguyen also preyed on victims of her community in distressed homes or facing foreclosure by having them pay her half the balance owed on the mortgages "with the false promise of using those funds to refinance and secure a lower loan payment," the OCDA says. Money that these frightened homeowners generally borrowed from family and friends also went into Nguyen's escrow account before being transferred to Eichenberger's business account, prosecutors say.
Nguyen and Eichenberger are accused of draining that account, stealing more than $2 million from the 17 victims, be they investors or those trying to save their homes. When Nguyen was confronted, the OCDA says, she claimed the deals feel through. No victim got any money back.
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After an investigation by Westminster Police, the FBI and the state Department of Real Estate, Nguyen and Eichenberger were arrested Wednesday by Westminster and OCDA Bureau of Investigation officers. Nguyen and Eichenberger are each charged with 15 felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of money laundering, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit grand theft with sentencing enhancements for property loss over $1.3 million, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, and money laundering over $1 million.
Eichenberger faces up to 22 years and eight months in state prison with a conviction, but Nguyen is looking at 24 years because she faces an additional felony count each of forgery and the false recording of documents. They were both being held in lieu of $2 million bail each, and to make bond they must prove the funds came from legitimate sources. Meanwhile, the investigation continues, and anyone with information is asked to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Eric Akerlind at 714.347.8691 or Westminster Police Detective Brian Marlow at 714.548.3741.
Meanwhile, Eichenberger's ugliness knows no bounds. KCBS-TV/Channel 2 News profiled her in 2009, when she was accused of separating several marks from at least $300,000 through get-rich-from-foreclosure seminars and a real estate development called Emerald Bay.