Businessman sentenced on wire fraud convictions

Bobby Willis will serve 2 years after pleading guilty to 2 counts

The Daily Times staff
Bobby Willis, left, sits with his attorney, Bob Cooper, on March 25, 2016, during a hearing in Farmington District Court.

FARMINGTON — Kirtland businessman Bobby Willis has been sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding nearly $1 million from a San Juan County couple as part of a real estate scheme.

Willis, 45, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon during a hearing in Albuquerque federal court as part of a plea agreement, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

During a July 12 hearing, Willis pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud as part of the plea agreement which included a recommended maximum sentence of two years.

More:Bobby Willis pleads guilty to wire fraud charges

As part of the plea agreement, Willis admitted he and his wife spent $995,000 he defrauded from Joseph and Theresa Lee.

Indicted on Oct. 20, 2015, Willis convinced the couple to spend $1 million to purchase a 5 percent interest in a real estate company under false pretenses.

He told the couple their money would be reinvested in property, and they would not see returns for the first five years, according to The Daily Times archives.

Willis and his then-wife Carrie spent the $995,000 they received.

The money was received from two transfers of $900,000 and $95,000 to an account controlled by the Bobby L. Willis and Carrie S. Willis Trust from Cooney Real Estate Investments.

Willis will have three years of supervised released after he completes his prison sentence.

A hearing will be scheduled to determine the amount of restitution Willis will be ordered to pay to the couple.