Santa Rosa man pleads not guilty to mortgage fraud
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 7:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 8:15 a.m.
A Santa Rosa man pleaded not guilty Thursday to 44 counts of mortgage fraud in a scheme prosecutors said bilked people in five counties out of thousands of dollars.
Ronald Cupp, 58, is accused of stealing from struggling homeowners in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano and San Mateo counties by promising to get rid of their mortgage debt for a fee.
He was arrested last week with another defendant, Randall Hayden, 69, of San Rafael. The two men, along with a third defendant, Santa Rosa resident Angelle Wertz, 38, were named in a 57-count criminal complaint.
Only Cupp and Hayden, a real estate broker, were in custody. Hayden put off entering a plea, saying he will challenge the charges against him at a February hearing.
Cupp denied all charges. Judge Julie Conger reduced his bail from $500,000 to $200,000 and set a preliminary hearing for March 18.
Cupp operated North Bay Trust Services. A banner that read "Mortgage Problems? WeKillYourMortgage.com" hung above his Rohnert Park storefront. Prosecutors said Cupp shares extremist anti-government beliefs of so-called "Sovereign Citizens."
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