On Friday, it was announced that a Poway, California man had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and bank fraud. United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced that 64-year-old Sergio Roman Barrientos pleaded guilty on Friday. Court documents show that from September of 2004 to February of 2008, the defendant and co-conspirators, Omar Anabo and Zalathiel Aguila, operated an entity named Capital Access LLC in Vallejo.

The defendant and his co-conspirators preyed on homeowners nearing foreclosure. They convinced these individuals to sign away the title for their home and spend any equity that had been saved. They also used straw buyers to defraud federally insured financial institutions out of millions of dollars in home loans, which were obtained under false pretenses. The equity stripped from the victim homeowners’ properties was ultimately used for operational expenses of the scheme. The defendant and his co-conspirators also used some of the money for personal expenses.

As a result of the scheme, vulnerable homeowners throughout California lost their homes and savings. Lenders lost roughly $10.47 million from the fraud. Barrientos is now scheduled to be sentenced on April 6, 2018. The defendant will face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Co-defendant Zalathiel Aguila is currently awaiting trial. He remains innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Omar Anabo is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27.

Additional details can be found here.

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