Brus Ellas has lived on Donner Avenue in Fresno for six years. He says for the most part, the neighborhood's a safe place to live in but he never imagined, he'd live right next door to a marijuana grow. His next door neighbor, 44-year-old Jenny Chi Ha, was just sentenced to 21 months in prison for mortgage fraud. According to court documents, she fraudulently acquired two homes on Donner and South Villa Avenues back in 2007, and used it to grow marijuana.
Ellas says he became suspicious, “At first I would say, wow, do they know how to put the blinds up? All the cars would be gone at a certain time, so it was like, everyone works at a certain time. There was never one car there.”
There were five properties in Fresno and Mendocino Counties involved in the overall mortgage fraud scheme. Over 3,600 marijuana plants were seized. The houses have since gone into foreclosure. Six other defendants in this case are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming months.
According to court documents, Ha was a former card dealer at Table Mountain Casino. The documents show she fraudulently applied for mortgages by overstating her salary. She was able to get 100% financing for the two homes.
The six other defendants were found guilty of several charges including mortgage fraud, marijuana cultivation and drug conspiracy.