Westport man charged with $3.5M mortgage fraud scheme
Published 4:27 pm, Friday, November 19, 2010
A Westport man has been indicted on charges stemming from a mortgage fraud scheme exceeding $3.5 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut.
William A. Trudeau, 47, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Bridgeport on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud offenses in connection with the alleged scheme.
Trudeau, a property developer, was an unnamed principal in both Aspetuck Building & Development and Huntington South Associates, LLC, the latter of which was a shell company that he used to pay for personal expenses and to secure loans fraudulently, according to the federal prosecutor's office.
The indictment charges that from approximately February 2004 to last April, Trudeau conspired with Joseph Kriz, Heather Bliss, Fred Stevens, Thomas Preston and others to defraud federally insured financial institutions and mortgage lenders in Fairfield County. Through this scheme, Trudeau and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained more than $3.5 million in mortgages, the indictment states.
He and his co-conspirators submitted false mortgage loan applications to obtain mortgages on various properties in Fairfield County to develop and sell the properties for profit, and to pay off debts owed to so-called "hard money" lenders from whom they had obtained high-interest loans, the prosecutors say.
The mortgage applications, which had false income information and omitted the applicants' true indebtedness, caused financial institutions to issue loans on properties that Trudeau and his co-conspirators would not have otherwise been qualified to purchase, according to the indictment. The scheme also allowed the applicants to qualify for mortgages that exceeded their ability to repay the loans, the indictment states.
Kriz, Bliss, Stevens and Preston have pleaded guilty to charges regarding their involvement in the scheme. Each awaits sentencing.
The indictment further alleges that Trudeau's name did not appear on any documents related to the loans or the properties for which the loans were obtained, and that money was hidden in bank accounts that were not in his name, in part to prevent the collection of more than $450,000 in restitution that a court ordered Trudeau to pay in July 2003.
The indictment formally charges Trudeau with one count of conspiracy commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud, three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 240 years.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Kale.