July 26 2011
LOS ANGELES – An unlicensed real estate agent from Arizona has pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges for offering to pay thousands of dollars to an individual he believed was a Bank of America employee in exchange for shortened approval times and lower appraisal values in short-sale transactions.
Richard Pilewicz, 54, of Scottsdale, Arizona, appeared yesterday in United States District Court and pleaded guilty to one count of bribery.
According to court documents, Pilewicz contacted a Bank of America employee earlier this year in an attempt to obtain his personal email address so Pilewicz could discuss a “business opportunity” with the employee. Bank investigators posed as the bank employee and corresponded with Pilewicz, who suggested an in-person meeting.
The matter was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which set up the meeting. During meetings in February and March at restaurants in the San Fernando Valley, Pilewicz met with “Will,” who was actually an undercover FBI agent. During the meetings, Pilewicz paid “Will” a total of $1,500 in cash to influence the short sale negotiation process for several properties Pilewicz represented. Pilewicz promised “Will” another $8,000 to approve the short sale of a specific property, and Pilewicz offered a percentage of sale profits once the property was renovated and sold. Following the meeting in March, Pilewicz was arrested by the FBI.
As a result of yesterday’s guilty plea, Pilewicz faces a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Pilewicz is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt on October 17.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney David L. Kirman
Major Frauds Section