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Hemet man gets 15 years for real estate Ponzi scheme

August 16, 2013|By Ruben Vives

A Riverside County Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced a man to 15 years in state prison and ordered him to pay $12.6 million in restitution to victims of a real estate Ponzi scheme he operated.

Ralph John Solis, 56, of Hemet pleaded guilty July 24 to four counts of grand theft, operating a business for the purpose of committing securities fraud, authorities said. He also received a sentencing enhancement of aggravated white collar crime.

Between 2007 and 2009, Solis operated a real estate Ponzi scheme in which he sold forged first and second trust deeds to investors, according to Riverside County prosecutors. Solis created fictitious deeds of trust by finding mortgages held by non-traditional lenders and private parties and obtaining copies of the documents and putting his name on them as the beneficiary. The fake deeds were then bundled and sold directly or through third parties.

Solis was able to raise more than $12 million through the scheme from more than 50 victims in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties as well as in Texas and Arkansas.

Prosecutors say as victims waited for the “great profits” that Solis had promised them, he lived a lavish lifestyle, which included expensive cars and trips.

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Twitter: @latvives

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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