27-Year-Old Businessman Indicted, Accused of Defrauding Cleveland Investors
Update 9/22: The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports Villarreal's attorney told the news outlet his client repaid investors $12 million.
Prosecutors say Oscar Villarreal convinced investors in Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Florida to hand over $9.6 million to him.
According to the indictment, Villarreal said he would put the money into Mexican real estate, steel and petroleum on the investors' behalf.
Instead, the indictment says, he passed those dollars back and forth between accounts, bought a luxury car and other things for himself and lost money on speculative trades.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Villarreal last month, accusing him of securities fraud. The suit says he socialized with business and civic leaders in the Cleveland area and convinced some to invest.
Court records don't yet list an attorney representing him in the civil or criminal case.
The SEC suit says Villarreal moved back to Mexico last year. Prosecutors, in a news release, say the FBI is trying to find him.