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The Valley

Couple Plead Not Guilty to Fraud

January 29, 2003|Michael Krikorian | Times Staff Writer

A Palmdale couple accused of bilking banks out of at least $1 million in an alleged real estate fraud scheme pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a variety of charges, including identify theft, grand theft and fraud, authorities said.

Willie Edwards, 54, and his wife, Pamela, 44, were taken into custody Monday morning after investigators with a warrant searched their home in the 6700 block of Pistachio Place, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Christopher said.

Investigators allege that the pair, running a company called "Elite Home Services," would approach homeowners facing foreclosure and offer, for a fee, to delay the bank takeover by finding someone who had filed for bankruptcy protection and adding his or her name to the deeds, thus staving off the banks temporarily.

Some went along with the scheme, investigators said.

But a woman who refused to get involved led investigators to the couple, who had moved into her home in Palmdale after she moved out, Christopher said.

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