Irvine police detectives arrested three people Friday in connection with a scheme that they say defrauded at least 13 people of more than $800,000, according to a news release.
Officials say Steven Sears, 59, of Irvine is suspected of promising to help people protect their assets through the purchase of corporations he had fraudulently created.
Mikael Sears, 56, of Irvine and Norma Hoskins, 57, of Garden Grove were arrested on suspicion of helping him, according to the release.
The fraudulent corporations were started in several states, including California, Nevada and Oklahoma, according to the release. Police suspect Sears also used the corporations to open bank accounts to launder money.
Police said Steven Sears apparently used aliases and told some victims that he was a lawyer, though he was disbarred in 2011.
All three have been booked into Orange County Jail in lieu of $800,000 bail.
The investigation, which began in 2012, included months of looking into building code violations and disruptive activities at Steven Sears' home, according to the release. Irvine code enforcement had been alerted to some violations by Sears' neighbors and the Irvine Police Department.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call Irvine police Det. Melissa Partida at (949) 724-7180.