Chesapeake Man Pleads Guilty to Mortgage Fraud Scheme
NORFOLK, Va. – Philip Villasis, 41, of Chesapeake, Va., pleaded guilty today in Norfolk federal court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Villasis faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 18, 2012.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and John Boles, Supervisory Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation made the announcement after Villasis’ plea was accepted by United States District Senior Judge Robert G. Doumar. A federal grand jury previously indicted Villasis on January 19, 2012. Villasis’ co-defendant, Ray D. Gata, previously pled guilty to the same charge on February 28, 2012.
According to court documents, from November 2006 until February 2011, Villasis and Gata engaged in a foreclosure rescue scheme that defrauded homeowners and mortgage lenders. Villasis promised homeowners that he could save them from foreclosure by arranging a sale of their homes to Gata and other straw borrowers. To further entice the homeowners, Villasis promised that they could remain in their homes after the sale, pay rent, and he would resell the homes back to them once they were more financially secure. Villasis and Gata profited from this scheme by taking all of the proceeds from the home sales. To complete the scheme, Villasis and Gata executed false closing documents that showed the proceeds of the sale going back to the homeowners when, in fact, the proceeds were going to Villasis, Gata and the other straw borrowers. The homeowners received nothing from the sale of their homes while Villasis, Gata and others received in excess of $170,000. In almost every case, Villasis required the homeowners to pay more in rent to cover a larger mortgage, and ultimately evicted these homeowners from their homes.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Melissa E. O’Boyle is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.