Local Man Indicted on Fraud Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 16, 2013|
ST. LOUIS, MO—A federal indictment was unsealed today naming Ronald L. Roberts as the culprit in a multi-million-dollar loan fraud scheme. The indictment alleges that Roberts solicited personal loans for a fictitious real estate transaction involving property in or around Poplar Bluff, Missouri, from which Roberts claimed he would receive between $7 million and $22 million in proceeds after the property was sold to Walmart. According to the indictment, there was no such real estate transaction pending, the property in question was worth substantially less than Roberts represented, and the funds provided by lenders were instead diverted to Roberts’ personal use, including gambling at the River City Casino. The indictment alleges that Roberts caused more than $2.5 million in losses as a result of the fraud.
Roberts was indicted by a federal grand jury on three felony counts of wire fraud and one felony count of mail fraud. The indictment was returned December 11 but remained sealed until the defendant turned himself in to authorities earlier today.
If convicted, each count of mail and wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Richard E. Finneran is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.