MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) _ A 57-year-old Connecticut man has been sentenced to just over five years in prison and ordered to pay $1.77 million in restitution for a scheme in which he took advance fees to arrange large loans, but never came through with the money.

Kenneth A. Schneider of Weston, Conn., was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy for wire fraud. Weston also forfeits a house and bank accounts.

Prosecutors say Weston’s business, American Bridge Funding Inc., claimed to be able to fund large loans for people wishing to use property as collateral. The application fee was $7,500 or $10,000 and would-be borrowers were required to pay a 1 percent commitment fee.

The loans never closed and Schneider refused to refund the fees. Prosecutors allege Schneider swindled 130 people, including three in Montana.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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