Final Defendant in Foreclosure Rescue/Marijuana Scheme Sentenced

A judge has sentenced a Texas man to serve almost four years in federal prison and pay $1.4 million in connection with a foreclosure rescue and marijuana distribution scheme.

The U.S. District Court judge in the Eastern District of Texas sentenced Julius Williams of McKinney, Texas, to pay restitution and serve prison time following his guilty plea last summer to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Williams, 43, is the final defendant sentenced in the scheme, in which perpetrators fraudulently acquired close to 40 homes, and used at least one to grow marijuana when it became vacant. Four other defendants also have been sentenced. Each faces about three-and-a-half to five years of prison time.

Williams and two other individuals controlled and operated a purported foreclosure rescue firm, and fraudulently used customers' personal information to prepare and send false military orders to lending institutions in order to claim relief from foreclosure under the Servicememberís Civil Relief Act.

The perpetrators would lease out the homes and collect rental payments. After at least one home became vacant, they turned it into an operation that housed approximately 1,300 marijuana plants they planned to distribute.

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