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Former Bishop Charged With Money Laundering, Mail And Wire Fraud

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File photo of a gavel (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a gavel (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ A federal grand jury has indicted a former bishop of a Trumbull church on charges that he cheated church members and others out of $400,000 in an investment scheme.

Julius Blackwelder of Utah is charged with money laundering and mail and wire fraud.

Federal prosecutors say Blackwelder was bishop of the Bridgeport ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Trumbull when he persuaded members of his congregation to contribute money beginning in 2005.

He allegedly used the money to pay back earlier investors in the scheme, build a waterfront home in Stratford and repay personal bank loans.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office says Blackwelder is expected to surrender before his arraignment Thursday.

A phone number for Blackwelder was not in service.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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