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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Vallejo Defendant Pleads Guilty in Multimillion Dollar Mortgage and Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Scheme

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Zalathiel Aguila, 45, of Vallejo, pleaded guilty last Friday to conspiring to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and bank fraud, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, from September 2004 through February 2008, Aguila and co-conspirators Sergio Roman Barrientos and Omar Anabo operated an entity named Capital Access LLC, in Vallejo. Capital Access 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 properties was then used for operational expenses of the scheme and personal expenses of the conspirators. 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 United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew M. Yelovich and Todd A. Pickles are prosecuting the case.

Barrientos and Anabo are scheduled to be sentenced on September 21, 2018, and April 26, 2019, respectively.

Aguila is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on November 16, 2018. Aguila 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.

Topic(s): 
Mortgage Fraud
Press Release Number: 
2:16-cr-046 GEB
Updated September 4, 2018