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Cottage Grove man pleads guilty in investment scheme

A Cottage Grove man on Friday pleaded guilty in federal court to operating a more than $5 million real estate investment scheme, the U.S. attorney's office announced.

Robert W. Dufresne, 46, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering.

According to the U.S. attorney's office and the plea agreement, Dufresne sought investors to fund the purchase, rebuilding and resale of houses in Minnesota and other states between October 2005 and October 2008. Investors expected to receive shares of the proceeds, but Dufresne instead used the initial investment money for personal benefit and paid off the initial investors with subsequent investors' money.

Dufresne, who was charged earlier this month, will be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis at a future hearing. The mail fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, the money laundering charge 10 years imprisonment.

The U.S. attorney's office said the case was the result of an investigation by the FBI, an IRS criminal investigation division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Check back for more on this story.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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