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Owner of CA Mortgage Firm Arrested

Michael Wilson faces 147 counts

July 14, 2009

By staff

The owner of a defunct California mortgage company has been arrested over accusations that he deceived elderly investors and committed mortgage fraud. Millions of dollars were allegedly lost in the apparent Ponzi scheme.

Santa Barbara County sheriffs arrested Michael Lee Wilson on July 10 and booked him into Santa Barbara County Jail, according to a statement from the Santa Barbara Count District Attorney's Office. He was scheduled to be arraigned yesterday.

In addition, two search warrants were issued, and law enforcement officials searched his home and a business location in Lompoc, Calif.

The arrest followed several months of investigation, which is still ongoing.

Wilson is the owner of now-defunct Pacific Coast Mortgage.

He faces 147 counts accusing him of securities fraud and grand theft, according to a copy of an amended complaint filed in the Santa Maria Division of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. The complaint was provided by the district attorney to

More than two dozen of the counts allege more than $200,000 each in related losses, while even more allege losses in excess of $100,000 each.

The complaint includes allegations of mortgage fraud by forging deeds of trust.

It also alleges violations of the state's Penal Code Section 368(d), Theft From Elder or Dependent Adult.

In addition, the county claims Wilson fabricated several checks, one for $75,000.

The crimes reportedly began as early as January 1996.

Wilson could spend more than 50 years in state prison if convicted.

Earlier this year, published reports indicated Wilson had been riding in his boat near the Channel Islands Harbor and was knocked off the boat from a large wave -- nearly dying. He was reportedly pulled from the water five hours later and treated for hypothermia and exhaustion. While recovering in the hospital, his company was swamped with investor calls and evicted from its space.

DA No. 09-07-225191, July 14, 2009)

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