Houston Woman Convicted In Debt Relief Scam
HOUSTON – Savannah Rae Williams, 25, of Houston, has been convicted of wire fraud in relation to a debt relief scheme operating throughout the area, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Set for trial next week, Williams entered a plea this morning.
Her co-defendant, Nathaniel Chilo aka Nathaniel O’Neil, 24, also of Houston, previously pleaded guilty for his part in the scheme. Chilo operated debt relief businesses in the Houston area under several different names including, but not limited to, Universal Restoration and C & N Recovery. Both Chilo and Williams have admitted they fraudulently represented that settlements has been arranged for an individual in Georgia, but then used that money for their own benefit.
On or about Sept. 16, 2011, a letter was sent to an individual in Georgia that falsely representing a settlement had been reached in the amount of $32,541.56 with one of the person’s creditors. As a result, the individual’s wife then wired monies to cover the settlement, but neither Chilo nor Williams ever paid the creditor.
A second email was sent the next month which indicated a settlement on another account in the amount of $35,409.18. That settlement was also fraudulent, but thinking it was a legitimate, the victim again wired the monies.
Williams and Chilo never arranged the settlements and never paid the creditors, but used the monies for their own benefit. They have both admitted they fraudulently received $67,950.74.
Both Williams and Chilo face up to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine at their respective sentencing hearings on Aug. 2 and June 27, 2013. Chilo is currently in custody pending that hearing, while Williams was permitted to remain free on bond.
The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Braddock.