Not to blame the victims, but this was bound to happen. The home-loan modification business has been filled with so many sharks that state Attorney General Jerry Brown has called the entire statewide industry a "shadowy world." The source of his ire are those companies that take cash up front from homeowners desperate to get out of the terms of their loans only to deliver no results.
That's what two of the suspects in this particular crime claim -- that their loan-modification agents ripped them off. Daniel Weston, 52, of La Cañada, and Gustavo Canez, 36, of Los Angeles, face two counts each of torture, false imprisonment and second-degree robbery, the district attorney's office announced today. They're due in court in Glendale this afternoon.
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The D.A.'s office states that Weston and Mary Ann Parmelee, 52, live in a house that is being foreclosed upon. The duo looked for help from the victims but "but believed that nothing was being done and wanted their money back," said Shiara Dávila-Morales of the D.A.'s office.
The pair set up a meeting with the victims and allegedly beat and robbed them and took documents, she said. Weston and Canez were armed, and three others, including Parmelee, witnessed the beat down, the D.A. contends.
That trio, also including Mario Soloman Gonzales, 47, of Glendale, and Marissa Parker, 49, of Sylmar, already pleaded not guilty to charges with of torture, false imprisonment and second-degree robbery. Authorities say the three had a business relationship with the victims and helped to set up the meeting.
In a bit of irony, the three (Parmelee was identified as a real estate agent) profited from the loan-mod business: They recruited customers for the victims.