Grievance Denied: Residents demand fraud investigation


Seeking answers
Residents stand outside City Hall after being denied a meeting with law enforcement officials to express their grievances on their housing fraud cases. (Photo by David Lopez)

San Benito residents on Wednesday attempted to meet with local law enforcement officials to discuss multiple cases they allegedly suffered of housing fraud.

However, officials refused to meet with residents after 12 people showed up to City Hall. Public Relations Director Martha McClain told the crowd and reporters present that a press conference was happening at the San Benito Police Department, but after the NEWS traveled to the PD to verify, there was in fact no press conference being held there. Instead, the NEWS was redirected to City Hall, where residents were told that police would discuss the cases with the District Attorney behind closed doors the following day.

The City issued a press release that stated local police authorities are indeed investigating 10 reported cases of fraud involving a Mission area businessman.

“San Benito Police detectives are currently conducting an investigation into alleged fraud by the reported suspect, who is said to have had a business located here,” wrote Interim Police Chief Fred Bell in the release.

The property management company in question, Vita Moderna Homes, is accused of fraudulent practices through promises of building homes only to accept clients’ down payments, allegedly ranging from six to 10 thousand dollars, and never contacting them again. Vita Moderna has an office in San Benito.

The owner of the company, Oscar Hernandez, was arrested last week in Mission and charged with five counts of theft and deception with a bond of $125,000, according to media reports. He was released on bail shortly after.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the June 12-18, 2020 issue of the NEWS.

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