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Press Release

Two Former Florida Residents Indicted for Defrauding Rental Property Investors

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Two former residents of Hudson, Florida, now living in Panama, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Johnstown on fraud charges, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.

The two-count Indictment named Paul Andrew Gulbronson, 58, and Kelly Jurado Bonilla, 35.

According to the Indictment, from in and around May 2017 until in and around June 2019, Gulbronson and Bonilla conspired to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and committed wire fraud. Gulbronson and Bonilla owned and operated Citrona Homes LLC, which had offices in Holiday, Florida, and in Johnstown, and solicited investments. The purported business plan of Citrona, as represented to some of the investors, was to purchase low-value, distressed, or vacant properties, renovate them, ensure they complied with applicable building codes, rent the properties, and sell the properties to investors at or under market value. The defendants told investors that Citrona would manage the properties, provide no-cost maintenance and repairs for the first two years, pay the utilities for a small monthly fee, and thus generate a stream of guaranteed passive income for the investors. The Indictment alleges that Gulbronson and Bonilla instead used Citrona as a mechanism for enriching themselves by defrauding investors into purchasing unrenovated properties at prices far above the fair market value of the properties through a series of false pretenses, representations, and promises.

These included, among others, false claims of offering “fully renovated, fully vetted and rented Section 8 and Subsidized Housing” when properties were often not fully renovated at the time of the sale or within the specified period after the sale; providing fictitious invoices to investors as evidence that property renovations were completed; the use of fake names to help conceal Gulbronson’s identity; and the payment of a local real estate broker to display the broker’s license on the wall of Citrona’s management office in Johnstown as their own. The defendants also made payments to investors purported to be rental income when the money actually came from the sale of other Citrona properties, and informed investors that property repairs and rentals were being made when no efforts were being made to remedy those issues. According to the Indictment, Citrona contracted with at least 70 investors on the purchase of $5.3 million in properties in the Johnstown area during the two-year period, which the defendants originally purchased for $1.2 million.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of up to 60 years in prison, a fine of up to $2 million, or both. Under the federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan T. Conway and Maureen Sheehan-Balchon are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated May 8, 2024