Fraud scheme gets Cottage Grove man 8 years in prison; tried to dispose assets before sentencingA Cottage Grove man was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding investors in a $5 million real estate scheme.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A Cottage Grove man was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to defrauding investors in a $5 million real estate scheme.
Robert W. Dufresne, 47, was ordered Tuesday in federal court to spend 97 months in prison for committing one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering.
The sentencing came after Dufresne last year admitted that over a three-year period beginning in October 2005 he defrauded investors whom he had sought to fund a house-flipping business, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. He purportedly would buy homes, make upgrades and then sell. Dufresne used money from the initial investors for personal benefit and then used funds from subsequent investors to pay those who initially bought into what turned out to be a multi-state fraud scheme in excess of $5 million.
Dufresne’s sentence was longer than expected because he tried to dispose of assets after his February 2011 guilty plea.
“The judge was not a very happy person,” said Jeanne Cooney, community relations director for the U.S. attorney’s office. “The court doesn’t take kindly to that.”
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis sentenced Dufresne and ordered him to pay more than $6.5 million in restitution.
An offender’s restitution order can be paid with existing or future assets.
“When he gets out (of prison), he’s still obliged to pay that amount,” Cooney said.