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Owner of O.C. mortgage company sought in loan modification scam

June 3, 2011 |  7:01 pm

Authorities are seeking the owner of a Costa Mesa mortgage company who is charged in a large loan modification scam that targeted out-of-state victims, some of them elderly.

James Toufic Assali, 36, of Irvine owned Meridian Financial Corp. and Fortis Title Solutions, an escrow company. Investigators for the Orange County district attorney’s office believe he is either in California or Vermont.

Assali is charged with 18 felony counts of grand theft, three felony counts of grand theft of an adult over age 65, four felony counts of money laundering and two felony counts of filing a false tax return. If convicted on all counts, he could face a maximum of 23 years in state prison.

Assali allegedly solicited home loan modifications for fees ranging from $750 to $10,000 and kept the money after he failed to complete the refinancings. An arrest warrant was issued May 26.

Anyone with information about Assali is asked to call Supervising Dist. Atty. Investigator Eric Ackerlind at (714) 347-8691.

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-- Dan Weikel

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