Federal mortgage fraud case dismissed after man’s death | TheUnion.com

Federal mortgage fraud case dismissed after man’s death

Federal prosecutors dismissed a mortgage fraud case against John Michael DiChiara last week after receiving official confirmation the Nevada County resident had died.

DiChiara, 60, was arrested in September 2015 for reportedly orchestrating a mortgage-elimination program that fraudulently altered the chain of title on residential properties, selling the properties and receiving the sales proceeds.

He was charged with conspiracy, bank fraud, false making of documents and money laundering. Six other people also were named in the scheme, most of whom have been found guilty or accepted plea agreements to sentences between three and 10 years. Only one codefendant — James Christopher Castle — still awaits trial.

But DiChiara, whose trial was set to start in May, died Aug. 24 following a series of life-threatening medical events, including triple bypass surgery and chronic kidney disease. His case was dismissed Sept. 24, according to court records.

DiChiara and his co-defendants allegedly recruited homeowners whose homes were worth less than their mortgage, with the promise of relief from foreclosure. They allegedly often required homeowners to assign or convey their homes as charitable donations, leading them to believe they could take a tax deduction and that they had transferred legal responsibility over their mortgages.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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