TRENTON, NJ—An Oklahoma woman who formerly lived in Ridgewood, New Jersey. pleaded guilty today a scheme to defraud two New Jersey families relating to the purchase, financing, and improvement of real estate in Oklahoma, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Taya Romano, (a/k/a Taya Waldon), 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to an information charging her with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this and a related case and statements made in court:
In 2008 and 2009, Taya Romano conspired with her then-husband to solicit and obtain money from two sets of family friends in New Jersey for investments in what Romano represented to be purchases of apartment complexes and undeveloped land in Oklahoma. Romano solicited a series of investments from each of the two sets of family friends, obtaining a total of $1,032,750 from one couple and $890,000 from the other couple. Romano and her husband did not use these funds for the purposes they had represented.
The charge to which Romano pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the amount of pecuniary loss suffered by the victims of the conspiracy. Sentencing is scheduled for November 25, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bohdan Vitvitsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Economic Crimes Unit.