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Ex-Westport Man Gets 16-Year Sentence In Fraud Scheme

WESTPORT, Conn. – A former Westport man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 16 years in federal prison for his role in a $4 million mortgage fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

From February 2004 to April 2010, current Norwalk resident William Trudeau Jr., 50, his wife, Heather Bliss, 37, and several others fraudulently obtained mortgage loans to purchase six properties in Westport and Newtown, Thomas Carson, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said in a written statement. Their intent was to develop and sell the properties for profit, and to pay off debts owed to other lenders from whom  they previously obtained high-interest loans.

Trudeau and the others used false income information to obtain the mortgages for the properties, which they otherwise were not qualified to purchase, Carson said.

Bliss, who worked as a paralegal for Wilton real estate attorney Joseph Kriz, one of the co-conspirators, prepared and maintained numerous fraudulent mortgage documents involved in the scheme, Carson said.

Toward the end of the conspiracy, Trudeau, with the help of others, sought additional money from a private lender to supposedly complete construction on one of the properties, which he claimed to have a signed purchase contract for, but didn’t, Carson said. Trudeau did not use the money for the property, Carson said.

Last October, Trudeau was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud and on one count of wire fraud. He was sentenced Tuesday to 188 months in prison, which is 15 years and eight months.

Bliss, who in July 2010 pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison. She was also ordered to pay a $12,500 fine.

Trudeau and Bliss will be ordered to pay restitution of more than $4.2 million.

Kriz, Fred Stevens and Thomas Preston, the other co-conspirators in the scheme, have pleaded guilty to charges related to their involvement in this scheme and await sentencing.

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