Former Del. Villanueva expected to plead guilty to federal charges

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A former Virginia delegate accused of defrauding the federal government is expected to plead guilty in a hearing later this month.

Ron Villanueva is faced with multiple charges including conspiracy to defraud the federal government, falsifying records and helping others file false documents. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in mid-January.

The charges were detailed in a 22-page indictment in which federal prosecutors allege two businesses Villanueva is associated with were awarded government contracts for which they may not have been eligible.

Specifically, Villanueva is accused of misleading the Small Business Administration. He and others allegedly benefited from $80 million in contracts that were fraudulently awarded.

A U.S. District Court judge said in documents filed last week that the court had learned Villanueva intends to plead guilty. A plea agreement hearing is now set for March 19 in Norfolk.

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