Connecticut real estate developer sent to prison for swindling investors – Hartford Courant

A Greenwich real estate developer whose business went bust in a market downturn and who was accused later of swindling $1.5 million from friends and associates, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to three years in prison.

Samuel Klein, 66, lived in a multi-million dollar mansion in the Greenwich back country and collected sums ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars from friends and associates on promises that he could make substantial and in some cases guaranteed profit on real estate deals.

Instead of investing the money as he promised, federal prosecutors said Klein spent much of it on his family and himself. Among other things, prosecutors produced records in court showing that Klein spent $194,000 on five brief, days-long getaways to the Amangani Resort in Jackson, Wyoming, and another $60,000 on chartered air travel.

Klein previously pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of property taken by fraud and one count of money laundering.

Federal prosecutors said Klein stole to subsidize a lifestyle he could not longer afford.

“Klein prioritized his own lavish lifestyle which included accommodations at an exclusive resort and staggering credit card expenditures,” prosecutors said in a court filing. “He spent far beyond his means, and funded some of his extravagance with victim investors’ funds, which he plowed through at an aggressive clip.”

Klein’s attorneys said that at an earlier point in his life, he “thrived in the competitive and cut-throat world of real estate development in New York City. They said he built two companies, Fairchild Properties and Fairchild Realty Group, into multi-million dollar enterprises that at one time employed 3,200 people.

Among Klein’s developments were Payton Lane Nursing Home in Southampton, N.Y., New York Treetops at Mohegan Lake in Mohegan Lake, N.Y., Chandler Care Center in Ossining, N.Y.; Oakwood Care Center in Oakdale, N.Y.; Kensington Green of Southbury in Southbury; the Southbury Hilton in Southbury; the Danbury Hilton in Danbury; the Westport Inn in Westport; and the Sofitel Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, Penn.

“Like so many others in the real estate industry, Mr. Klein’s business was crippled by the 2008 financial crisis,” his lawyers said in a court filing.

Klein, who had been free on bond, was taken into custody at the conclusion of Tuesday’s court proceeding.

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