A California man was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison for running an “advanced” real estate scheme that raised more than $7.6 million, which he spent on renting luxury cars, five-star hotels and escorts.
Patrick Joseph Soria, 35, of West Hollywood spent his nights at the Waldorf-Astoria in Beverly Hills and spent his days cruising Lamborghini and Bentley rentals, scamming more than 2,000 people over a three-year period.
The ‘skilled scammer’ ran the nationwide two-part scheme from January 2015 to June 2018, according to the Department of Justice.
The first part of the settlement involved the hijacking of titles by using false filings at the county recorders’ offices.
Soria acquired the titles, forged them to show him as the owner, then turned around and sold them to unsuspecting buyers.
In the second part of the settlement, he convinced homeowners that he could lower their mortgage payments through a loan modification or by taking over the mortgage from their lender.
In some cases, he befriended them “to gain their trust and give them hope,” the DOJ said.
Described by a judge as a “skilled con man” at his conviction, Soria stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria in Beverly Hills for up to $2,000 a night
At one point, he had Waldorf-Astoria staff help him remove property that would be confiscated
When the victims’ benches started sending their eviction and execution orders, he ‘wrongly slept’ [them] by doing nothing to protect themselves’, causing many of them to lose their homes.
The targeted properties were spread across Texas, New York, Nevada and the California cities of Vernon, Beverly Hills, Santa Ana, Yorba Linda and Anaheim, the DOJ said.
Soria focused on properties throughout Los Angeles and in states like Nevada and New York
Soria misled his victims with company names like ‘HBSC US’ and ‘Deutsche Mellon National Asset LLC’, which were meant to sound like real financial firms.
“This isn’t the biggest case I’ve presided over in dollar terms, but it’s the most brutal and heartless,” said U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer.
‘Mr. Soria turned their hopes into a nightmare.’
Soria had previously committed multiple acts of contempt for the court in a related civil case before Judge Fischer, in which he lied to the court about living in a hotel.
In fact, since December 2017, he had “regularly stayed” at the SLS Hotel and the Waldorf-Astoria in Beverly Hills, spending up to $2,000 a night.
Soria was found to have spent $2,500 a day on cars from Legends Car Rentals in Beverly Hills
Among his favorite ways to get around were a Bentley and a Lamborghini, pictured above
On June 3 and 4, 2018, he “knowingly and intentionally removed or otherwise concealed property” that would be seized by police with the help of Waldorf-Astoria employees, according to a March 2019 court report.
He also changed his email password and deleted thousands of emails and text messages so that the police could not access them.
He was found to have spent $2,500 a day renting luxury cars from Legends Car Rentals in Beverly Hills, and between $4,000 and $6,000 a day on escort services.”
Soria pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit telephone fraud and contempt of court earlier this year, but was not convicted until Monday.
There will be a hearing on restitution on October 25.