SACRAMENTO -- A Brentwood man was arrested Friday on suspicion of masterminding a multimillion-dollar foreclosure scheme that defrauded more than 1,000 homeowners and caused many involved to lose their homes, attorneys said.

Alan David Tikal, 44, was arrested at his home on a mail fraud complaint alleging he was behind a multistate scam that defrauded distressed homeowners, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

More than 1,000 homeowners who paid upward of $3.1 million were victimized by Tikal, 95 percent of whom are California residents, the complaint states.

According to court documents, Tikal kicked off a large-scale mortgage rescue scam beginning in January 2010 that was still operating at the time of his arrest.

Tikal reportedly pulled off the scheme by convincing homeowners that he could satisfy their pre-existing mortgage debt and replace it with a new debt to his company, KATN Trust, claiming the new loan would be for only 25 percent of the original principal.

Victims made regular payments on their new loans to KATN trust and paid thousands of dollars in upfront fees, according to the complaint. Tikal and his employees reportedly instructed the victims not to pay their original mortgage and to ignore all correspondence from the original lenders, resulting in many of the victims losing their homes to foreclosure.

"As the foreclosure crisis continues, we are seeing a rise in scams that target struggling homeowners," Harris said. "These predators rob innocent families of their life savings and their piece of the American dream."

Tikal will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan in Sacramento at 2 p.m. Friday, Harris said. Tikal faces a sentence of up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Contact Erin Ivie at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.