Virginia Beach businessman to serve 11 years for fraud targeting elderly homeowners

Posted at 8:52 PM, May 05, 2020

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison for conducting a home modification loan fraud scheme that primarily targeted elderly homeowners in the Tidewater area.

In January, 61-year-old Gregory J. Ziglar was convicted of 16 charges following a two-week trial.

According to court documents, from 2014 to 2017, orchestrated an extensive home improvement loan fraud in Hampton Roads that victimized banks and individual victims, many of whom were elderly. Ziglar reportedly developed a scheme to place individual homeowners into federally insured loans to do improvements on their homes, but instead, diverted funds to his own use.

Authorities say Ziglar conducted this scheme in the guise of a legitimate business using various company names and a fake name for himself in dealing with clients, banks and contractors. He exploited a federal program designed to assist homeowners and tradesmen and advertised to homeowners that such funds could be used for any purpose.

In order to obtain these loans, authorities say Ziglar submitted false estimates or purported agreements from contractors to justify these improvements. The homeowners received the loans and paid Ziglar an unlawful service fee for moving their loan application through the bank. They also paid him for the home improvements he promised to get done, but many times little or no work was done leaving the individual homeowners with a loan debt and no improvements, while leaving Ziglar with thousands in loan proceeds.

The Department of Justice defines elder abuse as "an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult." The term describes five subtypes of elder abuse: Physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse and sexual abuse.

The DOJ says elder abuse affects at least 10% of older Americans every year.

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