There William David Robin was, being tried in Orange County Superior Court this week for allegedly masterminding an $8 million real estate fraud scheme that caused 16 victims to lose their homes, when the judged threw out the grand theft and conspiracy charges against the 56-year-old Coto de Caza man.
But prosecutors immediately filed 16 new charges against the owner of Pacific Vantage of Rancho Santa Margarita.
Judge Richard Toohey had granted the motion by Robin's defense attorney Jim Riddet to dismiss the original charges on grounds the statute of limitations had expired. Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce didn't even fight it, conceding the point. The statute clock had started ticking on the date the alleged crimes are believed to have happened. The complaint reveals the supposed fraud starting in 2006.
The new counts Pierce filed–conspiracy to commit grand theft and conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud–are based on the dates the alleged conspiracy were discovered. Riddet told City News Service the legal theory the prosecution is basing the new filing on "is awfully thin."
That, of course, will be up to Toohey, who has scheduled a new arraignment hearing for Robin next Friday, May 10.
Robin and four others were indicted in March 2011 for the mortgage fraud scheme that allegedly had him and co-defendants Christopher Allen Taylor, 40, of Riverside, and Agida Jamil, 54, of Rancho Santa Margarita, marketing a "shared equity program" that recruited 16 investors.
The program had 16 home buyers paying half their mortgage payments to Pacific Vantage, which would pick up the other half. After a few years, the client could buy out the Pacific Vantage's share or sell the property, splitting half of the profits with the firm.
Taylor and Jamil filled out loan applications for the 16 buyers that greatly inflated the applicants' incomes so their loans would be approved. Both accepted plea deals from prosecutors that had them copping to misdemeanor grand theft, agreeing to testify against Robin and awaiting the end of Robin's trial to receive their sentences. (Co-defendants Richard Cadieu, 75, and Zane Rogers, 51, of Paso Robles, had charges against them dismissed in September 2011.)
Pacific Vantage is alleged to have stopped making the mortgage payments to the lender J.P. Morgan Chase beginning in late 2007, but the 16 clients continued making their payments to Robin's company, according to Pierce.