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Pair Face 86-Count Indictment for Real Estate Fraud

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced on Thursday the filing of an 86-count felony real estate fraud complaint reflecting the arrests of Ismael Cancinos and Mercedes Alvarez.

Their arrest warrants were issued based upon an investigation conducted by Santa Barbara County district attorney investigators into their alleged defrauding of 30 homeowners in Santa Barbara County who were facing the foreclosure of their homes.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies apprehended Cancinos on Jan. 27 at a motel in Cudahy, near Bell Gardens in the Los Angeles County area, and Alvarez surrendered herself to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday.

The 86-count felony complaint alleges that the defendants conspired to commit the crimes of first-degree residential burglary, grand theft by false pretense, fraudulent practices of a foreclosure consultant, elder abuse, and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

“These significant arrests would not have been possible but for our DA’s real estate investigator team led by Jen Glimp, Chief Trial Deputy Kelly Scott and the cooperation of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department," Dudley said. "In addition to multiple burglary, theft and fraud charges, Cancinos and Alvarez have been charged with an aggravated white-collar crime enhancement based on taking more than $100,000 from their victims.”

Cancinos and Alvarez are both held without bail at the Santa Barbara County Jail. Cancinos is scheduled to appear for further arraignment on Feb. 28 in Department 9 of the Santa Maria Superior Court. Alvarez was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

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