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SAN JOSE, Calif. – Tara Denise Bonelli today pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose to Wire Fraud, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. In pleading guilty, Bonelli admitted to promoting false and fraudulent real estate investments by knowingly making false promises about how investor funds were to be invested and repaid. Among other inducements, Bonelli promised investors that their funds would be used to purchase foreclosed and distressed properties for resale, when in reality she used those funds for personal expenses.
Bonelli, 33 of Santa Cruz, Calif., was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on March 16, 2011. She was charged with 18 counts of wire fraud in violation of 18 United States Code § 1343. Under the plea agreement, Bonelli pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud that included the total charged loss of more than $3 million.
The sentencing of Bonelli is scheduled for June 25, 2013, at 9 a.m. before United States District Court Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 United States Code § 1343 is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Matt Parrella and Susan Knight are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter. The prosecution is the result of a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division.