FRESNO, Calif. — On October 12, 2017, a federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment against John Ballard, 55, and Judy (Calderon) Ballard, 54, of Atwater and Sherry Herbert, 54, and Andrea Todd, 53, of Fresno, charging them with conspiracy, wire fraud and bank fraud in connection with a fraudulent short-sale scheme, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to the court documents, Ballard and Calderon were both licensed real estate salespersons and they owned a home in Atwater, which was their primary residence. When the couple defaulted on a loan on the property, they asked permission to short-sell the property to Herbert and Todd, but had no intention of actually transferring the property to them. They used a series of false and fraudulent representations to obtain approval from banks to conduct this transaction and caused these financial institutions to approve the charge-off of funds and the financing for the short-sale.
Herbert and Todd were arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Erica P. Grosjean. Ballard and Calderon's arraignments are currently set for November 29, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Merced County District Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael G. Tierney and Christopher D. Baker are prosecuting the case.
If any of the four defendants are convicted, they face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Ballard and Calderon are also facing two felony insurance fraud charges out of Merced County for their role in making false insurance claims against this same property in 2013/2014.