Vallejo Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Multimillion Dollar Mortgage and Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sergio Roman Barrientos, 64, of Poway, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and bank fraud, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, from about September 2004 through February 2008, Barrientos and co-conspirators Zalathiel Aguila and Omar Anabo operated an entity named Capital Access LLC, in Vallejo. They preyed on homeowners nearing foreclosure, convinced them to sign away title in their homes, spent any equity those homeowners had saved, and used straw buyers to defraud federally insured financial institutions out of millions of dollars in home loans obtained under false pretenses. The equity stripped from the distressed homeowners’ properties was then used for operational expenses of the scheme and personal expenses of Barrientos and his coconspirators. Vulnerable homeowners across California lost their homes and savings as a result of the scheme, and lenders lost an estimated $10.47 million from the fraud.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew M. Yelovich and Todd A. Pickles are prosecuting the case.
Co-defendant Zalathiel Aguila remains out of custody awaiting trial. The charges against him are allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Omar Anabo, charged elsewhere, is set for sentencing on April 27.
Barrientos is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on April 6, 2018. Barrientos faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.