A plea deal that will allow two former mortgage loan brokers to avoid jail time and pay a fraction of the $8.2 million they’re accused of stealing from 80 investors will move forward, a Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.
The decision clears the way for Rodney Jarmin, 75, and Tammy Jordan, 53, former owners of Paso Robles-based Real Property Lenders, to appear in Superior Court on March 17 when their sentencing and restitution hearings will be scheduled.
When they are sentenced, neither defendant faces jail time for seven misdemeanors and restitution has already been set at $107,200 for Jarmin and $7,200 for Jordan.
The ruling Tuesday by Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy was a response to an informal suggestion last month from the state Court of Appeal to uphold the plea deal agreed upon in June 2015. Duffy had the option of upholding that deal or permitting the District Attorney’s Office to formally appeal the plea deal.
On Tuesday, he opted not to pursue an appeal.
The case began in March 2011, when the DA’s Office filed seven felony charges involving misrepresentations in the sales of securities against Jarmin and Jordan, alleging they failed to notify new investors that they had stopped paying dividends on past investors’ loans and that developers defaulted on loans RPL gave them.
In June 2015, defense attorneys struck a plea deal with prosecutors and Judge Donald Umhofer that reduced all seven felonies to misdemeanors. However, prosecutors on June 12 filed a motion to set aside the misdemeanor pleas, arguing they were not part of the deal. Umhofer overturned his own ruling and the trial was set to resume under the original charges.
Jordan and Jarmin’s attorneys appealed that ruling to the Court of Appeal, which suspended the case and last month issued a writ of mandate — or an informal indication of where it stood without going through formal proceedings — saying the plea should stand. It gave the Superior Court two options: accept the pleas or allow prosecutors to pursue formal proceedings in appellate court.
James Pope, one of the roughly 80 victims in the case, said in an email to The Tribune that victims will be at the March 17 hearing to voice their displeasure about what he called the “injustice” of the plea bargains.