Disbarred Lawyer, Real Estate Investor Convicted of Massive Fraud Schemes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 18, 2009|
NORFOLK, VA—Troy A. Titus, 43, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was convicted by a Norfolk federal jury today of operating multiple fraud schemes to steal and misappropriate more than $7 million from clients and investors.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and A.J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the Norfolk Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, made the announcement after the jury issued its verdict following four days of deliberations.
“Today, a jury found Troy Titus stole millions from people who trusted him to protect their investments,” U.S. Attorney MacBride said. “Today’s conviction is a testament to the ability of our law enforcement partners to tackle complicated investment and mortgage fraud cases. Especially in the light of the recent economic crisis, we are even more determined to work together to aggressively fight financial fraud in this district.”
“This case represents a strong investigative and prosecutive effort to protect our citizens and the financial services industry, and by extension, the larger economy,” said Special Agent in Charge Turner. “To that end, we will continue to target those who, motivated by greed, prey on honest investors and damage our country’s financial confidence.”
On March 25, 2009, a grand jury charged Titus in a superseding indictment with 49 counts of fraud-related charges. After a four-week trial, a jury at the Norfolk federal courthouse found Titus guilty of 33 charges, and he faces up to 590 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 15, 2010 by United States District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.
According to court documents and evidence at trial, Titus was a lawyer practicing in Virginia who also conducted investment seminars focusing primarily on real estate and estate planning. Titus approached clients or seminar participants and induced them into investing money with him to purchase and rehabilitate real estate, promising to return the money at a later date with a high rate of interest. However, Titus obtained many of the real properties involved through fraud or transferring the properties into trusts controlled by him. Instead of using the funds as promised, Titus directed the investment income toward paying business or personal expenses, backfill investment losses, and at times to make token payments or repay previous investors.
In addition, Titus misappropriated funds given to him by elderly or incapacitated clients who provided him with income intended to be held in trust and took steps to conceal those uses from those who inquired about the management of the trust. Trial evidence showed that Titus failed to make payments for the trust clients’ basic medical and housing needs. Titus engaged in a similar scheme to defraud involving real estate closing funds he held in trust.
Court records and evidence at trial indicate that the loss amount attributed to Titus’s activities totaled more than $7 million and affected approximately 30 victims. The Virginia State Bar revoked his law license in 2005.
This case was investigated by the Norfolk Field Office of the FBI, with assistance from the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, the State Corporation Commission, and the Virginia State Bar. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Melissa O’Boyle and Michael Moore.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.