Two Virginians Indicted in Foreclosure Rescue Scheme
Two Chesapeake, Va. residents, Philip Villasis and Ray D. Gata, have been indicted by a Norfolk federal grand jury on nine charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering in a foreclosure rescue scheme. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Dean Bryant, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made the announcement after the indictment. If convicted, Villasis faces a maximum penalty 150 years’ imprisonment and Gata faces 90 years’ imprisonment. According to the indictment, from November 2006-February 2011, Villasis and Gata engaged in a foreclosure rescue scheme that defrauded homeowners and mortgage lenders. Villasis promised homeowners that he could save them from foreclosure by arranging a sale of their homes to Gata and other straw borrowers. To further entice the homeowners, Villasis promised that they could remain in their homes after the sale, pay rent, and he would resell the homes back to them once they were more financially secure. Villasis and Gata profited from this scheme by taking all of the proceeds from the home sales. To complete the scheme, Villasis and Gata executed false closing documents that showed the proceeds of the sale going back to the homeowners when, in fact, the proceeds were going to Villasis, Gata and the other straw borrowers. The homeowners received nothing from the sale of their homes, while Villasis, Gata and others received in excess of $170,000. In almost every case, Villasis required the homeowners to pay more in rent to cover a larger mortgage, and he ultimately evicted these homeowners from their homes.