A fire that destroyed the home of the man convicted in the fraud case rekindles the intense emotions of those the court ruled he had deceived.
State prosecutors successfully argued that some 80 homeowners were duped by this man, Miguel Lopez, who illegally collected advances for loan modifications he was unable to obtain.
A judge sentenced him to one year in prison and ordered him to pay $ 250,000 in restitution in 2016.
Today his victims say what they got from Lopez is laughable.
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“Maybe $ 12 to $ 15 from the courts. It’s like they send a check every once in a while. I laugh a little,” said Kelly Gillette of Windsor.
The checks Sara Zanders received would barely pay for a cup of coffee. She doesn’t even bother to cash them in.
âI was really hoping to mess up the whole system because I felt they were insulting,â Zanders told 7 On Your Side.
Last week, a fire ravaged the home of Lopez and his wife Heidi Marks in the town of Penngrove, Sonoma County. He doesn’t get much sympathy from his victims.
âThank goodness for the karma. It was my very first thought,â Zanders said.
âOh, I have no sympathy. No. You get – you reap what you sow,â Gillette added.
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Gillette says she paid Lopez $ 4,000 and was basically ignored by him afterwards.
Sara paid $ 3,000, but ultimately lost her home.
Daniel Steele paid $ 2,000.
âMiguel Lopez hurt people. It wasn’t about the money as much as how much he hurt people,â Daniel said.
He says he only received $ 100 in restitution.
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Lawrence Jacobsen is a lawyer in real estate law. He suggests victims hire a lawyer to determine if Lopez is hiding his assets. “The whole thing is, find out what he has and where is he? If he doesn’t, all you can do is wait until he wins the lottery,” he said. he declared.
The victims are currently focused on rebuilding their lives.
Steele lost the Coffey Park house he struggled to save in the 2017 North Bay wildfires. He has since rebuilt it.
“There wasn’t a nail in the house that wasn’t done with respect, love, dignity and honor,” he said of the house, which originally belonged to his. father.
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Zanders now lives in a small cottage that she rents. “I got out of it. I tried really hard to put this to bed and not think about it,” she said.
Gillette said she managed to get her finances sorted out. âYes, I’m still in the same house when it all started,â she said.
7 On Your Side contacted the Sonoma County Probation Office for comment, but it did not reach us.
Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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