FBI: Ronald Roberts Steals $2.5 Million For Fake Walmart, Gambles it Away at Casino

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Federal investigators say Ronald Roberts, 53, stole millions of dollars pretending to buy real estate for a future Walmart store and instead gambled the money away at a south county casino.

The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating the Town & Country man for three felony counts of wire fraud and one felony count of mail fraud. Roberts turned himself in Tuesday after a federal grand jury indicted him December 11.

Roberts stole $2.5 million from lenders by pretending he was buying land he would later sell to Walmart, says the U.S. attorney's office. He told victims he'd earn between $7 million and $22 million once the land became the site for Poplar Bluff's second Walmart, but instead he used the money for gambling at River City Casino.

Roberts' real estate transactions were made up, and the property he was pretending to buy is worth substantially less than he told lenders. There is no news of a second Walmart coming to Poplar Bluff.

See also: Two Bros Accused of Extraordinary Feat: Stealing $1,577 Worth of Booze from Walmart

If convicted, each fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. Assistant United States Attorney Richard E. Finneran is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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Christen Mariah McClintock
Christen Mariah McClintock

Seems to me, the lenders should have checked further into the land they were lending for before giving him the money in the first place.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

Land you say, sounds like a good deal. I see no reason to research this investment


It's too bad the RFT didn't mention that Roberts and his former partner, Dr. Kenneth Powell committed bankruptcy fraud in another real estate scam involving buying up most of Kinloch prior to construction of the new runway built at Lambert International in 2000. Roberts and Powell defrauded their investors and subsequently filed bankruptcy when their scheme collapsed. Powell was sentenced to prison for conspiracy and wire fraud. Roberts was sentenced to nine years.  The RFT reported this story on May 10, 2000. Let's hope this time he is sent away for life!

KittyLitterKing topcommenter

Was his story about a second Wal-Mart or a new Wal-Mart location.  Because any lender that believed Poplar Bluff can sustain a second Wal-Mart really shouldn't be allowed to lend money.

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