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Dallas man pleads guilty to fraud in I-35E property case

A 34-year-old Dallas man pleaded guilty to fraud Wednesday in connection with case involving the expansion of Interstate 35E in Hickory Creek. 

Wade Wylie Blackburn pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine A. Nowak in Sherman. He was indicted in the case one year ago along with another Dallas man, Kevin James Bollman. 

According to court records, the two men raised investment money and purchased land along I-35E in Denton County with the intent of quickly reselling the land at an inflated price to the Texas Department of Transportation. 

As part of the scheme, Blackburn and Bollman intentionally caused false material information to be submitted to TxDOT, wrote a letter with material false statements to individuals at TxDOT and told TxDOT officials they were experiencing financial hardships in order to avoid traditional condemnation proceedings, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. 

A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled, but Blackburn could face a maximum of five years in federal prison.  

The FBI is investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher A. Eason and J. Andrew Williams are prosecuting the case. 

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. 

Featured image: One year ago, U.S. Attorney Malcolm Bales gave a press conference near the construction zone of Interstate 35E in Hickory Creek about the indictment of two Dallas men who conspired to buy land along I-35E and sell it back to TxDOT at inflated prices.
DRC file photo