A Dearborn man who sometimes used Scripture to bilk dozens of southeast Michigan Latinos out of more than $914,150 in a debt-consolidation scheme will spend up to 20 years in prison.
Wayne County Judge David Groner said the case against Kenneth Sandoval, 36, “shocks the conscience” and ordered the Dearborn man to prison.
In January, Sandoval pleaded guilty to one count of conducting a federal enterprise and two counts of larceny by conversion in the amount of $20,000, both felonies.
He will serve 48 months to 20 years in prison on the racketeering charges and 24 months to 10 years in prison for the larceny by conversion charges. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
“This is an egregious case,”Groner said. “You preyed on these people. You are a con man on a grand scale.”
One of 84 victims of the con, a Detroit mother of three, said at Sandoval’s sentencing that Sandoval “even used Scripture to deceive us.”
“We trusted [Sandoval) and after he took our money, he made fun of us,” she said.
Sandoval founded Nationwide Consulting Group, LLC in 2008, and ran a debt settlement and mortgage modification scheme that collected money upfront from victims – Latino families who largely lacked proficiency in English, Schuette said.
Sandoval would deposit the victims’ money and say that a settlement on one or more of their loans had been reached. He would then instruct the victims to send him a certain amount of money to pay off their loans, per the terms of the phony settlement.
That money would then be deposited into Sandoval’s personal bank account. He and his wife spend the money on personal expenses – spending $80,000 on themselves in one month alone, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement.
Schuette is seeking full restitution for the victims of Sandoval’s racketeering scheme.
Sandoval’s co-defendant and employee, Zach Ortiz, 41, of Taylor, pleaded guilty to one count of Conducting a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, on April 11, 2014 before Judge Margaret VanHouten in Wayne County’s Circuit Court.
Ortiz recruited clients for Sandoval and Nationwide. Ortiz is next due in court for sentencing on May 13.
Schutte said the convictions should send a chilling message to scammers “trying to defraud vulnerable families already struggling to make ends meet must face the full consequences of their actions.”
“We will continue to aggressively pursue lawbreakers and secure justice for hardworking Michigan homeowners,” he said.