fraud defendants

Ronald Hoch (left) and Andrew Hutchings. Photo courtesy of LASD.

Los Angeles authorities are attempting to identify other possible victims in an identity theft and real estate fraud scheme allegedly involving two Long Beach men who within the last week were arrested in connection with those crimes, officials announced today.

Real estate broker Andrew Hutchings, 59, was arrested at his home today and being held on $645,000 bail and Ronald Hoch, 60, was arrested near his home last Thursday and being held on $500,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD).

Arrest warrants were issued for the Long Beach pair when, on Monday, October 23, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged them with identity theft, forgery, procuring and offering a false instrument, grand theft and money laundering.

Authorities said that between 2013 and 2017 the defendants were involved in a sophisticated scheme targeting elderly and deceased victims who owned vacant homes in the cities of Los Angeles, Lakewood, Hemet and Westlake Village.

“The defendants allegedly impersonated the victims and then sold, or attempted to sell the victims’ homes, or obtained loans using the victims’ homes as collateral,” the release stated. “Proceeds from the fraud were laundered by purchasing gold coins from out of state companies, and shipping the coins to mail boxes in California which were obtained under false names.”

More than $190,000 was believed to be the total loss in the case, however officials said the defendants attempted to steal over $1 million in equity from the victims’ homes.

Both defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on November 7, 2017, in Department 30 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.