‘Skillful conman’ is sentenced to 12 years after he duped 2,000 homeowners and buyers out of $7.6 million by faking paperwork to make it appear their banks had transferred their mortgages to him and convincing them to pay him instead of their lender
- Patrick Joseph Soria, 35, ran the nationwide scheme from 2015 to 2018
- He obtained real property records, faked them, and sold them to other victims
- He also promised homeowners he could lower their mortgages if they paid him instead of their banks, causing many of them to lose their homes
- Soria used the $7.6M he collected on luxury hotels, cars and escort services
- He targeted homeowners in Texas, New York, Nevada and California
A California man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday for running a ‘sophisticated’ real estate scheme that brought in more than $7.6million, which he spent on luxury car rentals, five-star hotels and escorts.
Patrick Joseph Soria, 35, of West Hollywood spent his nights at the Waldorf-Astoria in Beverly Hills and his days cruising in Lamborghini and Bentley rentals while defrauding more than 2,000 people over a three-year period.
The ‘skillful conman’ ran the nationwide two-part scheme from January 2015 to June 2018, according to the Department of Justice.
The ‘skillful conman’ stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria in Beverly Hills at a cost of up to $2K a night
At one point, he had staff from the hotel help him remove seized property from his room
The first part involved hijacking real property titles by using fake filings at county recorders’ offices.
Soria got the titles, falsified them to show that he owned them, then turned around and sold them to unsuspecting buyers.
In the second part of the scheme, he convinced homeowners that he could lower their mortgage payments through a loan modification or by taking over the mortgage from their lender.
In some cases, he befriended them ‘to gain their trust and give them hope,’ the DOJ said.
When the victims’ real banks started sending them eviction and foreclosure notices, he ‘falsely lulled [them] into doing nothing to protect themselves,’ leading many of them to lose their homes.
The targeted properties were spread across Texas, New York, Nevada and in the California cities of Vernon, Beverly Hills, Santa Ana, Yorba Linda, and Anaheim, among others.
Soria tricked his victims with company names like ‘HBSC US’ and ‘Deutsche Mellon National Asset LLC,’ which were meant to sound like real financial firms.
‘This is not the largest case I have presided over in terms of dollars, but it is the most brazen and heartless,’ said US District Judge Dale S. Fischer.
‘Mr. Soria turned their hopes into a nightmare.’
Soria had previously committed multiple acts of contempt of court in a related civil case before Judge Fischer, which found him lying to the court about living in a hotel.
In fact, he had ‘regularly resided’ at the SLS Hotel and the Waldorf-Astoria in Beverly Hills since December 2017, where he spent up to $2,000 a night.
Soria was found to have spent $2,500 a day on cars from Legends Car Rentals in Beverly Hills
Among his preferred ways to get around were a Bentley and a Lamborghini, pictured above
On June 3 and 4, 2018, he ‘knowingly and willfully removed or otherwise hid property’ that was to be seized by law enforcement with the help of Waldorf-Astoria employees, according to a court transcript from March 2019.
He also changed the password to his email address and deleted thousands of emails and text messages so that law enforcement couldn’t access them.
He was found to have spent $2,500 a day in luxury car rentals from Legends Car Rentals in Beverly Hills, and between $4,000 to $6,000 a day on ‘escort services.’
Soria pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of contempt of court earlier this year, but he wasn’t sentenced until Monday.
A restitution hearing is scheduled for October 25.