FAIRFIELD — A father and son from Vacaville were ordered Wednesday to stand trial on a felony fraud charge relating to the 2008 purchase of a ranch home and 10 acres off of Weber Road northeast of Vacaville.
The ruling came after a two-day probable cause hearing.
Attorneys for Jerry Corson, 56, and Jason Corson, 24, said they wanted the real estate fraud case thrown out because prosecutors filed the charges after the statute of limitations had lapsed. The Corsons’ case is one of the six real estate fraud cases currently pending in the Solano County courts.
“In 2008 they had the best of intentions,” one of the Corsons’ attorneys told Judge Dwight Ely about the real estate market at the time. “Half of the country was making representations that they ended up not being able to keep.”
Jerry Corson convinced the land owner to sell the property to his son, then 19, for $895,000. They agreed to a $10,000 down payment to be followed by monthly $2,500 payments with a balloon payment of $860,000 after three years.
Sure his son had some credit problems, Jerry Corson told the seller, but he had documents and pay stubs for his son showing he was making great money working for a local company, according to the testimony of an investigator in the case.
Prosecutor Laura Undlin told Ely that the documents were all bogus and that the company Jason Corson claimed to be working for was a bogus company operated out of a Vacaville post office box rented by Jerry Corson.
Jerry Corson had told the owner they were going to cover the balloon payment by using the acreage to set up an herb farm and that he had a large annuity coming that was tied up in a family law dispute and that he had a $1.5 million grant coming from the federal government, the investigator testified.
After the deal closed, the Corsons moved into their new home and the regular monthly payments started and lasted for six months.
Through phone calls, faxes and emails, Jerry Corson explained his bad luck to his lender, who was living in Winnemucca, Nev. Corson had been in the hospital and his son had lost his job.
Undlin described the excuses as “lulling.”
“There was no way they were ever going to be able to pay $2,500 a month much less the $885,000. Their point was to sit there and squat on that property and they did, for nearly four years,” Undlin said.
The former owner filed a default notice in 2012 and the Corsons were evicted from the property in August 2012. The owner found no signs of any herb farm.
Prosecutors did not file charges in the case until March 2013.
Ely ordered the Corsons to be arraigned May 14 on the felony fraud charge. Jerry Corson was also ordered to stand trial on a forgery charge. Ely will take up the dispute about the statute of limitations at a separate hearing set for June 16.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.