FORT PIERRE — A Fort Pierre man avoids prison time after pleading no contest to defrauding a Fort Pierre couple of residential property they owned in mid-2019. Stanley County States Attorney Thomas P. Maher says 48 year-old Thomas Cliff entered a no contest plea to a charge of Grand Theft by Deception. Cliff entered into a purchase agreement for a home under false pretenses then continued those pretenses from April to October of 2019. Cliff pulled of the deception through falsifying bank documents, phony corporate records, using false identities in phone and written correspondence and other intentional misrepresentations. Cliff then moved his family into the couple’s home and refused to leave until a Court order and involvement by the Stanley County Sheriff’s Office. Cliff was sentenced to pay 50-thousand dollars in restitution and a two-thousand dollar fine. He will serve five years on probation. A substantial payment toward the restitution was made by Cliff on Tuesday prior to sentencing.