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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A husband and wife are facing five felony charges in connection with what prosecutors are calling a real estate fraud scheme.

Brenda Ann Gregory, 54, and her husband Angel Alfonso Gutierrez, 55, are accused of targeting rundown properties and then selling them using fraudulent documents. Law enforcement started investigating in September 2020 when a Riverside County property owner contacted authorities about a notice from the Riverside County Recorder’s Office.

A grant deed was recorded on his property in Norco without his knowledge, and when he visited the property, he found a “for sale” sign. Investigators say someone purchased the property for $189,000 believing it was legitimately for sale, with a $20,000 deposit and monthly payments of $1,300.

Similar fraudulent sales and purchases were discovered in Arizona and Texas, which investigators believe were part of the same scheme. Payments were made to various trusts and sent to a post office box in Garland, Texas. Investigators say Gregory and Gutierrez used the fake names of Joel R. Silva or Jose M. Garcia as trustees.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Task Force teamed up with the Chula Vista Police Department in March to serve a search warrant at an RV park in San Diego County.

Gregory and Gutierrez were taken into custody in connection with five felonies and a white-collar crime enhancement. Charges include recording false documents, grand theft, identity theft and money laundering.

The case is still under investigation and anyone who conducted transactions with the accused or made payments to the Song Family Trust or the Amacker Family Trust is asked to contact authorities. If you may be a victim with property in Riverside County, call the DA’s Real Estate Fraud Hotline at 877-723-7779. If the property is outside Riverside County, contact authorities in your area who handle real estate fraud.