Nevada’s U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said the trio allegedly conned 390 individuals of over $5 million in the scheme which ran for ten years.
Gregory Villegas, also known as Ray Matsui and Ray Mathis, Christine Gagnon, also known as Lisa Foster and Crystal Waters, and Mickey Gines heave each been charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 31 counts of wire fraud. Arrested June 21, 20118, there made an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge George Foley, Jr.
Court records show Villegas owned numerous businesses including Executive Solutions, Business Funding Services Enterprises, BFS Enterprises, Global Business Funding, The Grant People, USA Grant Team, USA Grants, National Financial Advisors, US Filing Services, USFS, Echoe, Worldwide Asset Management, Corporate Capital Team, Business Acumen and Kuff Ltd.
The businesses were involved in supposed grant funding. The trio, operating a telemarketing-based con, would contact business who had visited one of their numerous websites and offer, for a fee, to help the small business owner acquire private and government grants.
Using high pressure sales tactics and false statements, they would convince the victim of their ability to deliver on promised grants.
To avoid detection and lawsuits, they would regularly chance aliases when they communicated with the customers. Later, when the grants didn’t happen, the crooks told customers the money was held up for “reasons beyond their control.”
If pressed, the accused would agree to return a partial refund, but require the customer to sign waiver forms indicating the three had not committed any crime.
$5.2 million was taken from approximately 390 persons across America with some of the individuals being over 55.
If convicted, they face up to 30-years on each wire fraud count and 30-years on the conspiracy count. They also must pay a fine up to $250,000 per count.