CRIME

Jerome Smith, Alvita Karen Gunn sentenced in $78 million mortgage fraud

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GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - Two people convicted in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded some 1,000 investors of $78 million have been sentenced to prison.

Forty-eight-year-old Isaac Jerome Smith of Spotsylvania, Va., was sentenced Monday to nearly six years in prison.

Thirty-three-year-old Alvita Karen Gunn of Hanover was sentenced to five years. Both were ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

According to evidence presented at their trial in last winter, Smith and Gunn tricked homeowners into pouring money into a business with the promise that the revenue would be used to pay off their mortgages.

Investors were told they were investing in ATM machines, television advertising and calling card kiosks that would raise money for the mortgage payments. But prosecutors say those businesses never made any money.

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