Cash Photo Source: TFP File Photo

Virginia Man Admits To Role In $15 Million Fraud Scheme Targeting Distressed Homeowners

Cash Photo Source: TFP File Photo
Cash Photo Source: TFP File Photo

Terrylle Blackstone, a 36-year-old resident of Woodbridge, Virginia, pleaded guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court to his involvement in a conspiracy that defrauded thousands of distressed homeowners across the United States.

The elaborate scheme, which operated under the guise of a fake national law firm, promised legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure but failed to deliver any actual services, raking in at least $15 million from unsuspecting victims.

Blackstone admitted to conspiring with David Maresca of Virginia, attorney Scott Marinelli of New Jersey, and attorney Sam Babbs of Florida to carry out the fraud from January 2018 to February 2021.

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The group falsely claimed to operate a national law firm based in the District of Columbia and lured homeowners with promises of comprehensive legal reviews, local attorney assistance, and mortgage resolutions.

Victims were bombarded with advertisements on television, over the phone, and through the internet, leading them to believe they would receive legitimate legal help. However, after paying substantial fees, homeowners were left without the promised assistance, often facing foreclosure or bankruptcy as a result.

Blackstone personally profited over $163,000 from the scheme, while the total losses incurred by the victims amounted to at least $15 million. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is pursuing charges against Blackstone’s co-conspirators, with Maresca, Marinelli, and Babbs facing additional charges related to the fraud.

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Blackstone pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2024. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the IRS-CI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office, with Assistant United States Attorney John Borchert leading the prosecution.

This case serves as a stark reminder for consumers to exercise caution when seeking legal assistance, especially in times of financial distress. It highlights the importance of thoroughly researching any law firm or attorney before engaging their services and being wary of promises that seem too good to be true.

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