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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Man Sentenced to Prison for Scheme to Defraud Elderly Man of $157,000

NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was sentenced today to six years in prison for exploiting an elderly man’s diminished mental capacity to defraud him of nearly $157,000.

According to court documents, John Michael Gatchell, 55, facilitated a marriage between the elderly man and a woman with whom Gatchell had a long-term relationship in order to gain access to the elderly man’s money and property. Gatchell induced the elderly man to make a down payment on a Jaguar that Gatchell and a family member drove for about 10 months before it was repossessed by the lender when the loan went into default.

Gatchell also induced the elderly man to obtain two mortgage loans and then diverted most of the proceeds to the benefit of himself and others. He subsequently induced the elderly man to sell the property that secured the loans and again diverted most of the proceeds to himself and others. Gatchell used these monies that he fraudulently diverted to himself to purchase concert series tickets, pay delinquent bills, and make a security deposit for a house he leased, among other things.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, and Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Salsbury prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-49.

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated September 26, 2019