A West Hills woman accused of taking part in a real estate fraud scheme against property owners who prosecutors have described as elderly — and at least one of whom was deceased — has been charged with 72 felony counts, authorities announced Thursday.
Angela Wallace, a former attorney, was able to use her legal expertise to allegedly befriend the victims in order to get her name placed on their property titles, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said she stole a total of $2 million between June 2014 and January 2017.
The scheme, which targeted four different properties throughout L.A., affected over two dozen victims including property owners, investment companies, estates and notaries, according to Deputy District Attorney Walter Mueller.
Mueller said Wallace allegedly obtained loans secured by the targeted properties or sold the loans to “innocent purchasers” and kept the proceeds for herself.
Wallace is also accused of targeting properties where the owners were already deceased, the DA’s office said. She was able to get her name placed on the title in at least one instance. She rented several units of that property and pocketed the rental proceeds rather than giving the funds to the estate of the deceased owner.
Wallace pleaded not guilty Thursday to several charges including identity theft, grand theft, forgery and procuring a false document for recording, the news release said.
She faces a maximum possible sentence of 40 years and four months in state prison. Her bail is set at $2.32 million.
Wallace has a number of prior felony convictions, including grand theft in 2003, 2007 and 2013, prosecutors said. She was also convicted of forgery in 2003 and recording false documents in 2007.
An attorney by the same name was convicted of embezzling almost $300,000 from the sons of a dead police officer, according to a Los Angeles Times report in 2003. A spokesman for the DA’s office was not able to immediately confirm she is the same woman.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.