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Candy Wells sentenced to 5 years 

Former president of Heritage Lending sentenced to prison for fraud

Candy Wells was sentenced Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to five years in state prison. Wells is the former president of Heritage Lending in Paso Robles. Back in August pleaded ‘no contest’ to five counts of felony securities fraud

Wells was accused of offering and selling hard money loans for real estate development projects. The district attorney’s Office says the victims lost more than $1.3 million.

Her husband, Ronald Wells, pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact to the charges of securities fraud and embezzlement. He was sentenced to five years of formal felony probation and 88 days in custody. He has already served that time.

A restitution hearing  is scheduled for December.
Background on Candy and Ronald Wells

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office announced that Candy Lee Wells, 58, former president and owner of Heritage Lending, Inc., doing business in Paso Robles, CA., and her husband Ronald Ricky Wells, 63, were placed under arrest Tuesday, March 12, 2013.

Investigators from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, along with assistance from the Oceanside Police Department, arrested Candy Wells and Ronald Wells on $2.5 million arrest warrants which were issued March 12, 2013 by the Honorable Judge Jacquelyn Duffy of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court. The Wells were thereafter booked into San Diego County Jail, awaiting extradition to San Luis Obispo County.

Candy Wells operated Heritage Lending in Paso Robles, CA, offering “hard money” loans and investments in real estate projects, until she abruptly closed the business in October 2009. Following an extensive, three year investigation by the California Department of Corporations, and significant additional investigation by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, a criminal complain was filed against Candy and Ronald Wells on March 11, 2013 for alleged crimes they committed between 2007 and 2009 during the operation of Heritage Lending. In the criminal complaint, the Wells are charged with six felony counts and seven special allegations related to fraudulent practices in the offer and sale of securities involving “hard money” loans in real estate projects located primarily in San Luis Obispo County. The Wells are alleged to have caused a loss of over $1.3 million to numerous victims.

March 19, 2013: Heritage Lending defendants arraigned

Defendants Candy and Ronald Wells were present in custody Tuesday morning, March 19, 2013 for arraignment in San Luis Obispo Court, Department 6, before the Honorable Judge John Trice. Judge Trice has initially appointed Attorney Jim Maguire of the Public Defender’s Office to represent Candy Wells, and Attorney Paul Phillips of the Conflict Public Defender’s Office to represent Ronald Wells. Their arraignments have been continued to Thursday, March 21 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 6, to allow the appointed attorneys time to review the list of potential victims and witnesses for possible conflicts of interest, to determine whether they can continue in their respective appointments on the case.

Judge Trice also set the matter for further proceedings on Tuesday March 26, 2013, at 8:30 am in Department 6, for the receipt of an OR/Bail Report, to be prepared by the Probation Department.

The defendants both remain in custody with bail set at $2.5 million, as previously ordered by the Honorable Judge Jacqueline Duffy. The Wells will be arraigned in the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on the criminal complaint following their transport back to San Luis Obispo County by custody officials.

Freezing of Assets

The San Luis Obispo County Superior Court has issued orders freezing the personal assets of the defendants, including any assets in which the defendants may have an interest. These court orders have frozen not only all personal assets and interests in real estate, but also all bank accounts, all other financial accounts, vehicles and any and all other things of value, whether the assets have been specifically listed or identified or not. The court orders prohibit anyone from selling or secreting these assets.

Source: San Luis Obispo County

March 15, 2013: Candy Wells arrested for fraud

Heritage Lending owner Candy Wells arrested for fraud

Candy Wells

Heritage Lending owners Candy Wells and her husband Ronald Wells were arrested Tuesday in San Diego on eight felony charges related to loans and real estate transactions in Paso Robles, CA, Cal Coast News reported this week. The court has set their bail at $2.5 million each.

From the report: Prosecutors from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office charged the Wells with running a scheme to defraud, grand theft and the fraudulent sale of securities. Oceanside police officers arrested the Wells Tuesday evening and booked them into the San Diego County Jail where they await transport back to San Luis Obispo County.

Enticed by the promise of 11 to 12 percent interest through property-secured investments, investors entrusted their nest eggs with Heritage Lending, a hard money lending company.

On Monday, prosecutors filed a temporary restraining order placing the Wells personal assets under court jurisdiction. A “source of bail” motion was also filed to allow time for authorities to ascertain that funds used for bail are not tainted.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.