A former Realtor and mortgage company executive has been charged with scamming more than 20 renters in Walnut Creek, Antioch and Brentwood.
Alfonso Salazar searched for empty foreclosed homes in Contra Costa County, according to District Attorney Mark A. Peterson. He would post a note on the door claiming ownership unless someone objects, Petersen said, adding Salazar changed locks and ran Craigslist ads, offering the property for rent.
Salazar claimed the property was owned by 'National Alliance of Homeowners for Justice,' and renters would receive a lease which claimed that 'National Alliance of Homeowners for Justice' was the lessor.
Salazar, 62, was charged Friday with fraud for renting out numerous empty, foreclosed and unoccupied homes in Brentwood, Antioch, Walnut Creek and Hercules to unsuspecting victims. It is estimated that there are over 20 victims who fell prey to this fraudulent rental scheme.
The homes varied in value from $742,000 to $215,000 that Salazar and 'National Alliance of Homeowners for Justice' fraudulently claimed ownership over. By court order, a related bank account was frozen which contained over $35,000 of ill-gotten gains from unsuspecting rental victims.
Salazar formerly worked for Countrywide Mortgage, and he was a licensed real estate agent from 2007 through 2011. The District Attorney charged Salazar with numerous counts of grand theft, perjury and burglary. Bail is set at $180,000.
Salazar is being prosecuted by the Real Estate Fraud Unit of Contra Costa County by Deputy District Attorney Ken W. McCormick. The criminal investigation was conducted by the Walnut Creek, Hercules and Brentwood police departments as well as the District Attorney Special Operations Unit.