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Dallas man pleads guilty to I-35 highway expansion-related fraud

(MGN Online)

SHERMAN, Texas (AP) -- Prosecutors say a Dallas man has pleaded guilty to North Texas highway expansion-related fraud and faces up to five years in federal prison.

Wade Wylie Blackburn pleaded guilty Wednesday in Sherman to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Investigators say the case involves an Interstate 35 East expansion project in Denton County and inaccurate information provided to state appraisers.

Prosecutor say Blackburn, from 2008 to 2011, conspired to defraud the Texas Department of Transportation by purchasing right of way property along I-35, then planning to resell the land to TxDOT.

Investigators say Blackburn caused false information to be submitted to TxDOT appraisers over what turned out to be bogus development plans. The state bought the property at a significantly higher cost than what Blackburn paid.

Blackburn was indicted last April.

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