U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney
Eastern District of California

Former President of Sacramento Mortgage Lending Company Indicted for Running Investment Fraud Scheme

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that on September 2, 2010, a federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment charging James Berghuis, 38, formerly of Sacramento, now residing in Laguna Niguel, with mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. The indictment was unsealed this afternoon as a result of Berghuis’s arrest earlier today.

The indictment alleges that Berghuis operated Berghuis National Lending Inc., a Sacramento mortgage and lending company. Berghuis offered short-term bridge loans for clients funded by private investors. Berghuis would identify clients in need of bridge loans and act as the intermediary between the clients and investors. The indictment further alleges that beginning no later than April 2005, Berghuis began making material false representations to investors and using investor funds to pay off other investors, pay business expenses, and pay his personal expenses.

If convicted of the charges, Berghuis faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Berghuis is scheduled to appear Tuesday, September 7, 2010 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows for arraignment on the indictment at 2:00 P.M. The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Camil A. Skipper is prosecuting the case.

This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force an interagency task force established by the president to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. One component of the FFETF is the national Securities Fraud Working Group, which is tasked with combating investment fraud schemes. For more information on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.

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Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General, Chair
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What is Financial Fraud?
What is Financial Fraud?

Financial Fraud encompasses a wide range of illegal behavior - from mortgage scams to Ponzi schemes, credit card theft to tax fraud. Everyone is affected by financial fraud.