SANTA ANA, California – A disbarred California attorney who previously pleaded guilty in a mortgage modification scheme that defrauded about 75 distressed Orange County homeowners out of more than $1 million was sentenced today to four years in federal prison.
Moses S. Hall, 63, a resident of Blackwood, New Jersey, who formerly had a law practice in Fullerton, was sentenced in the fraud scheme by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.
Hall pleaded guilty in July 2017 to one count of wire fraud and one count of obstructing the due administration of the IRS.
According to court documents, Hall operated his mortgage modification scheme from 2008 until 2012 through his law office, as well as businesses called “Salva Casas” and “Loan Modifications of America.” As part of his guilty pleas, Hall admitted that he told distressed homeowners to stop making their mortgage payments, and instead direct their monthly mortgage payments to him, purportedly so he could use that money to negotiate with the banks. Instead, Hall used the victims' money for himself.
According to evidence in the case, Hall concealed from victims that he was using their money to pay for personal expenses and that he was a previously convicted felon who had served years in state prison in New Jersey prior to being admitted as an attorney in California.
By pleading guilty to obstructing the IRS, Hall admitted that he failed to file tax returns for the years 2008 through 2012. During those years, Hall conducted many cash transactions, including withdrawing more than $1 million in cash from 2008 to 2011, often on the same day from multiple different locations and different accounts. Moreover, Hall admitted that when he was interviewed in December 2015, he lied to IRS Special Agents about his use of that money.
During today's sentencing hearing, several victims addressed the court and highlighted that they had lost their homes after following Hall's advice. One of those victims paid more than $400,000 to Hall. During today's hearing, Judge Carney noted that Hall had “betrayed the trust” of his clients.
In 2012, Hall was disbarred for as a result of the mortgage modification scheme, and the State Bar of California paid 12 victims a total of $340,000.
“Hall stipulated to nine counts of misconduct in three loan modification matters,” according to a summary of the case published by the State Bar of California. “In each case, he advised his clients to stop making mortgage payments and they lost their homes to foreclosure. All the clients were current on their mortgage payments when they hired Hall.”
In addition to the 48-month prison term, Judge Carney today ordered Hall to pay restitution to the victims and the Internal Revenue Service. The exact amount of restitution will be determined at a future hearing.
The investigation into Hall was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Secret Service. The State Bar of California, Office of Chief Trial Counsel, provided assistance during the investigation
Assistant United States Attorney Charles E. Pell of the Santa Ana Branch Office prosecuted this case.
Component(s): USAO – California, Central
Contact: Thom Mrozek Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer United States Attorney's Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) 213-894-6947
Press Release Number: 18-101Updated June 26, 2018
Central District of California DOJ / 18-101 / June 25, 2018