Possible plea deal for a Modesto agent accused of swindling Newman family

09/09/2013 3:27 PM

09/09/2013 3:28 PM

Attorneys are discussing a possible plea deal for a Modesto real estate agent accused of swindling a Newman family out of its home more than 10 years ago.

A second trial for defendant Erica Burdg was scheduled to start this week, but new information received by the attorneys might postpone the trial. Her first trial ended with a hung jury 15 months ago. Burdg, 61, has been charged with grand theft, forgery and attempted perjury.

Burdg is accused of taking money from Carlos Gonzales and his family, who thought they were buying a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Newman. The possible plea deal was revealed Monday morning when an attorney representing the Gonzales family told the judge that his clients had not been notified of the potential resolution in the case.

Michael Linn, the Gonzales family’s attorney, told the judge that his clients are opposed to any plea deal that would result in anything less than a felony charge. The details of the possible plea deal were not discussed in open court. Linn said in court that the proposed deal was discussed in the judge’s chambers before Monday’s hearing.

Deputy District Attorney W.R. McKenzie told the judge that he understood that the alleged victims in this case could be notified by Linn, who has attended most of the hearings involved in this lengthy case. Prosecutors filed the criminal complaint in this case in December 2008.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden scheduled the defendant to return to court Wednesday for a continued pretrial hearing, when the judge will likely determine whether the attorneys are close to a plea deal or when the trial will start.

The defendant remains free on bail.

According to testimony and arguments in the first trial, Gonzales and his wife thought they owned the house on Orchard Creek Drive and had given Burdg a $22,000 down payment and $1,200 monthly mortgage payments.

Burdg testified that Gonzales’ bad credit and lack of employment collapsed the deal to buy the home. She said she talked her husband into buying the house as an investment and rented it to the family.

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