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Brothers charged in Southern California real estate fraud; lavish loot seized

September 7, 2010 | 11:09 am

Loot Two brothers have been charged with a widespread real estate fraud that provided them with a "lavish lifestyle," the San Diego County district attorney announced Tuesday.

David Zepeda, 57, and John Zepeda, 59, are charged with 104 felony counts that include identity theft, forgery, grand theft, rent skimming and conspiracy.  The brothers' scheme allegedly involved properties in several counties, more than 300 victims and losses of more than $1.5 million.

Investigators have seized items allegedly bought with the stolen funds, including silver coins, gold ounces, diamond bracelets, expensive watches and a Bentley automobile.

The scheme allegedly involved properties in foreclosure that the brothers acquired through phony quitclaims and forged deeds and then rented out. In other cases, the brothers allegedly convinced homeowners to transfer property to them as a way to avoid foreclosure.

"This is yet another example of the various types of foreclosure scams we continue to see in the county," said San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Bentley seized during raid on brothers' residence in San Bernardino. Credit: San Diego County district attorney's office