Westport Man Indicted for Alleged Role in Fairfield County Mortgage Fraud Scheme
The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport has returned a nine-count indictment charging WILLIAM A. TRUDEAU, JR., 47, of Westport, with bank fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud offenses stemming from his alleged participation in a Fairfield County mortgage fraud scheme. The indictment was returned yesterday, November 18.
The indictment alleges that 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 TRUDEAU used to pay for personal expenses and to secure loans fraudulently. From approximately February 2004 to April 2010, it is alleged that TRUDEAU conspired with Joseph Kriz, Heather Bliss, Fred Stevens, Thomas Preston, and others to defraud federally insured financial institutions and mortgage lenders. Through this scheme, it is alleged that TRUDEAU and his co-conspirators submitted false mortgage loan applications to financial institutions to obtain mortgages on various properties in Fairfield County in order to develop and sell the properties for profit, and to pay off debts owed to “hard money” lenders from whom they had previously obtained high interest loans. The mortgage applications, which included false income information and omitted the mortgage applicants’ true indebtedness, caused the financial institutions to issue mortgage loans on properties that TRUDEAU and his co-conspirators would not have otherwise been qualified to purchase, allowing the applicants to qualify for mortgages that far exceeded their ability to repay the loans.
The indictment further alleges that TRUDEAU’s name did not appear on any documentation 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 TRUDEAU’s name, in part to prevent the collection of more than $450,000 in restitution that a court ordered TRUDEAU to pay in July 2003.
Through this scheme, it is alleged that TRUDEAU and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained more than $3.5 million in mortgage loans.
The indictment 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, TRUDEAU faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 240 years.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kriz, Bliss, Stevens, and Preston have pled guilty to charges related to their involvement in this scheme. Each awaits sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Citizens with information about this case are encouraged to contact FBI Special Agents McNamara or Bowery at 203-333-3512.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rahul Kale.
In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut. In addition to investigating past mortgage fraud schemes, the Task Force will focus on emerging crime trends that are associated with the growing tide of foreclosures, including “foreclosure rescue” schemes, and “short sale” schemes.
Citizens can report mortgage fraud activity by contacting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force at 203-333-3512, or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.