Thomas Franklin Tarbutton Extradited and Arraigned for $3 Million Ponzi Scam

Thomas Franklin Tarbutton, the 54-year-old former operator of Villa Capital Inc. who fled the country in 2011 has been extradited from Panama back to Orange County to face 29 counts of felony charges, including grand theft and forgery.

Tarbutton, through his Villa Capital Inc. business, told investors that their money would be used to provide loans to people seeking to buy properties. Tarbutton however kept the money without funding some of the loans. He then issued forged real estate documents showing that investors had a lien on the properties to be purchased.

Tarbutton further issued fraudulent documents to simulate regular mortgage payments. This payments were actually sourced from the original investment and was simply being recycled back to the investors as supposed income. Tarbutton eventually failed to make payments when the real estate market collapsed.

Formal charges were filed against Tarbutton in 2011 after victims of the scheme complained to the FBI in October of the previous year. Tarbutton then fled to Brazil, and then to Panama, to avoid the charges.

Tarbutton was apprehended trying to cross the border from Panama to Costa Rica by Panamanian authorities due to an outstanding Orange County warrant. He was delivered back to the country, into the custody of the FBI and OCDA, and was set to be arraigned in Santa Ana.

Charges against Tarbutton include sentencing enhancements due to allegations of loss amounting to over $100,000, and property loss of over $3.2 million, and aggravated white collar crime. He currently faces up to 30 years and eight months in state prison if convicted.

The Peiffer Wolf securities attorneys often represent investors who lose money as a result of Ponzi schemes, investment fraud, or stockbroker misconduct. They are currently investigating the possibility of assisting investors with the recovery of their losses. They take most cases of this type on a contingency fee basis and advance the case costs, and only get paid for their fees and costs out of money they recover for their clients.

Investors who believe they lost money as a result of investment fraud or misconduct may contact the securities lawyers at Peiffer Wolf, Jason Kane or Joe Peiffer, for a free, no obligation evaluation of their recovery options, at 585-310-5140.

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