The fire that destroyed the house of a man convicted of the fraud has rekindled intense emotions from those who the court found to have been fooled.
State prosecutors have successfully claimed that about 80 homeowners were fooled by this man, Miguel Lopes, who illegally collected a prepayment fee for a loan change he couldn’t get.
The judge sentenced him to one year in prison and ordered him to pay $ 250,000 in damages in 2016.
Today, his victims say that what they receive from Lopez is laughable.
“Maybe $ 12 to $ 15 from the court. It’s like they send checks from time to time. I’m giggling a bit,” said Windsor’s Kelly Gillette.
The check received by Sarah Zanders would have paid very little for a cup of coffee. She doesn’t even care about monetizing them.
“I really wanted to enhance the whole system because they felt insulting,” Zanders told 7 On Your Side.
Last week, Lopez and his wife Heidimark’s house in the town of Sonoma County in Penngrove caught fire. He doesn’t get much sympathy from the victims.
“Thank God for karma. That was my first idea,” Zanders said.
“Oh, I have no sympathy. No. You get-you reap what you sow,” Gillette added.
Gillette says he paid Lopez $ 4,000 and was basically ignored after that.
Sara paid $ 3,000, but she still lost her home.
Danielle Steel paid $ 2,000.
“Miguel Lopes hurt people. It wasn’t as much money as he hurt people,” Daniel said.
He says he has only received $ 100 in compensation.
Lawrence Jacobsen is a real estate lawyer. He proposes that the victim hire a lawyer to determine if Lopez is hiding his property. “The whole secret to that is to know what he has and where it is. If he doesn’t have it, all you can do is wait until he wins the lottery. “He said.
For now the victims are focused on rebuilding their lives.
Steele lost his home in Coffey Park, which he struggled to save in a wildfire in North Bay in 2017. Since then he has been rebuilding it.
“There were no nails in the house that weren’t done with respect, love, dignity and honor,” he said of the house originally owned by his dad.
Zandas currently lives in a small cottage she rents. “I got over it. I laid it down and tried hard not to think about it,” she said.
Gillette said she managed to manage her finances. “Yes, when everything started, I’m still in the same house,” she said.
7 On Your Side asked the Sonoma County Provation Office for comment, but did not receive a reply.
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