ALBUQUERQUE ― Bobby Willis, 45, a resident of Kirtland, has pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque to wire fraud charges under a plea agreement recommending a maximum sentence of 24 months in federal prison.
The plea agreement also requires Willis to pay restitution to the victims of his fraudulent conduct.
Willis was charged in a two-count indictment, which was filed Oct. 20, 2015, alleging that, from March 2010 through Aug. 2011, Willis executed an illegal scheme to defraud two victims out of $1,000,000.
According to the indictment, Willis offered the victims an opportunity to purchase a 5 percent interest in a real estate investment company for $1,000,000 with the understanding that he and other individuals had also invested millions of dollars in the company. Willis then spent $995,000 of the victims’ $1,000,000 instead of investing the funds.
Count 1 of the indictment alleges that Oct. 25, 2010, Willis caused $900,000 to be wire transferred from the bank account of the real estate investment company to his and his wife’s bank account. Count 2 alleges that Nov. 12, 2010, Willis caused another $95,000 to be wire transferred from the real estate investment company’s bank account to his and his wife’s bank account.
During the court proceedings, Willis pled guilty to the two-count indictment. In entering the guilty plea, Willis admitted meeting the victims in 2010 and devising a plan to cause the victims to give him $1,000,000 to invest in a real estate LLC created by Willis. Willis further admitted directing the victims to work with his associates to invest the money in a real estate company. That same real estate company transferred $995,000 into an account held by Willis and his wife Oct. 25, 2010 and Nov. 18, 2010.
In his plea agreement, Willis admitted that he and his wife spent the victims’ money. Willis also admitted that he did not invest the victims’ money in any real estate, and when the victims inquired about the status of their investment, he had associates falsely assure the victims that their investment had grown in value. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Office of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Paige Messec.