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updated: 5/3/2012 11:03 PM

Woodstock man pleads guilty in $7.2M mail fraud scheme

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A Woodstock man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges that he bilked $7.2 million from investors in a business that supposedly bought, rehabbed and sold old homes, as well as investors in a bogus Mexican luxury resort.

Francis X. Sanchez, 51, pleaded guilty to the federal charge of mail fraud, the U.S. District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

According to prosecutors, Sanchez admitted to purposely misleading investors from 2000 through 2009 in a company called InvestForClosures.

He also admitted to making false claims to get people to sink money into a luxury residential community in Mexico called "The Sands of Gold" by saying the Mexican government had pledged millions worth of infrastructure improvements to help the project along, authorities said.

Sanchez will be sentenced on Aug. 13 in Rockford.

Sanchez and a co-defendant were indicted in November 2010.

The co-defendant, James M. Bourassa, 53, of Gilberts, pleaded guilty in February 2012 and will be sentenced June 11.

In addition to prison time, each man also faces fines of a least $250,000 and possible restitution to victims.

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