A federal judge has ordered a Weston man to pay $1.77 million in restitution for defrauding at least 130 people out of more than $1.5 million.
Kenneth A. Schneider, 57, was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy in Missoula, Mont. Schneider pleaded guilty to wire fraud in December. He was also ordered to forfeit his house and bank accounts and serve five years in prison.
Schneider operated American Bridge Funding, Inc., a heavily advertised business that promised to lend people large sums against their property. His scheme involved taking up to $10,000 in application fees and then creating excuses for not moving forward with the loan. He never refunded his clients' money.
From January 2008 until July 2010, Schneider spent in excess of $140,000 in fraudulently obtained funds to pay the mortgage on his Weston home. He also spent more than $394,000 advertising his business, at least $94,000 on an apartment in New York City, and other amounts on ATM and debit withdrawals.
When he was arrested in July 2010, he acknowledged that his business was a fraud. He provided a handwritten statement in which he admitted that he "participated in a scheme to support [his] family" and that he "never intended to provide funding" to any of his clients.
"Today's sentence should send a strong message to the community fraud will not be tolerated," said U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter in federal press release.
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