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Sept. 21, 2012

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Houston Man Guilty in Debt Relief Scam

HOUSTON - Nathaniel Chilo, aka Nathaniel O’Neil, 23, of Houston, has entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud in relation to a debt relief scam he perpetrated with his father, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Chilo admitted that between September 2009 and September 2010, he assisted his father, Jeffery Wayne O’Neil, in promoting a number of debt relief/elimination schemes to individuals throughout the United States.

Chilo admitted he knowingly made false representations to individuals seeking debt relief through various programs offered by Jeffery O’Neil. He further admitted that on Feb. 4, 2010, he filed an assumed name for a business by the name of Universal Restoration in Ft. Bend County, Texas, which would allegedly provide relief from various types of debt. Chilo admitted he caused an individual on or about July 12, 2010, to wire transfer $5600 from that person’s bank account in Arizona to the bank account for Universal Restoration in Houston. The transfer was made as a result of Chilo’s representation that he had negotiated a settlement of a debt owed by that person to Navy Federal Credit Union. According to Chilo’s representation, this person was to pay 40% of the settlement amount and Universal Restoration would pay the remaining 60%. Chilo admitted he paid no money to Navy Federal Credit Union on that person’s behalf to settle the debt. Finally, Chilo admitted that the settlement offer he made was fraudulent and that Navy Federal Credit Union never authorized the settlement.

Chilo faces up to 20 years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr., who accepted the guilty plea today, has set sentencing for Dec. 21, 2012. He will remain in custody pending that hearing. Jeffery O’Neil pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Sept. 7, 2012, and will be sentenced Dec. 7, 2012.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Braddock.