July 24--ST. LOUIS -- A man from Town and Country, Ronald L. Roberts, pleaded guilty today to federal charges and admitted defrauding investors of more than $1 million, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Roberts, 54, solicited loans for what he claimed was a Poplar Bluff property that he owned and planned to sell to Wal-Mart, prosecutors said. He claimed investors' money would be used to buy out other relatives, clean up environmental issues or clear up liens, and would be returned in days or weeks with profits of up to 180 percent, prosecutors said.
But Roberts owned worthless property 10 miles away from Poplar Bluff, Wal-Mart was not interested and the money went to Roberts' personal expenses, prosecutors said.
Roberts pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, and could face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced Oct. 16.
Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.
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