A New Mexico man admitted in court that he and his wife spent all but $5,000 out of $1 million that investors gave to the pair under the guise of investing in a real estate company.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, Bobby Willis pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud charges as part of a plea agreement.
Willis’ guilty plea is the result of an “illegal scheme” that defrauded two victims out of $1 million.
According to court documents, Willis convinced the victims to purchase a 5% interest in a real estate investment company for $1 million by telling them that he and other individuals had also invested millions of dollars in the company.
But upon receiving the money, Willis then spent $995,000 of the victims’ $1 million instead of investing the funds as he told the investors he would.
Willis pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. Count 1 of the indictment alleged that on Oct. 25, 2010, Willis transferred $900,000 from the bank account of the real estate investment company to his and his wife’s bank account.
Count 2 alleged that just a few weeks later, on Nov. 12, 2010, Willis transferred another $95,000 from the real estate investment company’s bank account to his and his wife’s bank account.
As part of the plea agreement, Willis admitted that he and his wife spent $995,000 of the victims’ money. The release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office does not stipulate what Willis and his wife spent the money on – just that they spent the money instead of investing it.
Willis also admitted that he did not invest the victims’ money in any real estate, and admitted that when the victims asked about their money, he had associates falsely assure the victims that their investment had grown in value.
Willis’ plea agreement recommends a maximum sentence of 24 months in federal prison, but a sentencing hearing has not been scheduled yet.
Willis’ plea agreement also requires him to pay restitution to the victims of his fraudulent conduct.