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UPDATED at 6:25 p.m.

ST. LOUIS • An interior decorator admitted in federal court here Wednesday that she bilked wealthy clients — including former St. Louis Cardinal Scott Rolen — out of more than $1 million.

Officials said she also cheated the wife of ex-St. Louis Blues player Doug Weight, although she did not plead guilty of that count.

As part of her plea on three mail fraud charges, Kay T. Ottinger, 51, of St. Louis, acknowledged inflating invoices from real companies and creating fake invoices so she could pocket more money for her work.

Ottinger and clients of her company, Well Appointed Inc., had agreed that she would be paid a flat fee and between 15 and 30 percent of the cost of furniture and other items used in the decorating.

A federal search found invoices that had been inflated by tens of thousands of dollars, court documents show, and fake invoices that had been created to inflate and, at least once, to double a real bill.

One of the counts to which Ottinger pleaded guilty involved the creation of a fake invoice for Rolen’s Florida home from “Old World Pavers” for $88,970. That invoice was more than $66,000 higher than the $12,000 bill that Ottinger paid, court documents show.

In the indictment, Ottinger was accused of inflating an invoice for services and labor to Weight’s wife by $20,175.

The investigation began in 2010, when another Ottinger client and an employee approached federal prosecutors with their suspicions.

At sentencing August 27, Ottinger could face 15 to 21 months under federal sentencing guidelines and will be ordered to pay back the money.

In 2011, authorities seized Ottinger’s 2007 Mercedes CLK, but in court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Reap said there was little chance of the victims seeking any of their money.

Rolen, 37, spent 2002-2007 with the Cardinals before being traded to Toronto. He is currently on the disabled list of the Cincinnati Reds.

Weight, 41, left the Blues in 2007, retired last season from the New York Islanders and is currently an assistant coach and special assistant to the general manager with that club.

 

Robert Patrick is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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