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Press Release

Oakdale Man Admits Defrauding Prospective Homebuilders and Investors

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH – An Allegheny County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of wire fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Thomas Slack, age 67, of Oakdale, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Slack engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain money from prospective home builders seeking financing through loan programs administered through the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") Rural Development offices. Slack was a member and director of the Great Falls Development Group, a company which falsely purported to be an established residential real estate developer and builder. Slack falsely represented to prospective home builders and investors that he was associated with the USDA's Rural Development loan programs and that he could underwrite and pre-qualify applicants for the loan programs. Slack's false representations induced prospective home builders and investors to send approximately $24,425 to him, believing that he was actively engaged in building homes and securing financing for the homes through the USDA, when, in fact, he was not.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for Dec. 16, 2016 at 9 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation that to the prosecution of Slack.

Updated August 12, 2016