A Georgia man was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison and ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution for bankruptcy fraud related to a scheme to retain fraudulently acquired properties, federal officials said.

Hurb Grant, 44, of Lithonia, Ga., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Georgia. Grant’s co-defendant and wife, Jennifer Grant, 47, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mortgage and bankruptcy fraud in U. S. District Court on Aug. 25, 2005.

Jennifer Grant was sentenced in January to five years in prison and ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution.

“These defendants abused both the bankruptcy laws and the bankruptcy court in an effort to retain control of properties they obtained by fraud,” U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said in a statement. “This abuse of the bankruptcy system continues the blight on neighborhoods that results from mortgage fraud and defeats the legitimate interests of the victims of mortgage fraud.”

According to Nahmias and evidence presented at the Grants’ plea and sentencing hearings, the defendants obtained control of dozens of Atlanta-area properties through mortgage fraud, and kept control of these properties for four years, including the years that Jennifer Grant was a fugitive, without making the required mortgage payments.

The pair also reportedly caused nine fraudulent bankruptcy petitions to be filed in an effort to defeat collection of civil judgments obtained by victims of their fraud scheme, according to officials.

Jennifer Grant fled the United States following her 2002 arrest by DeKalb County authorities on related mortgage fraud charges, officials said, and she was apprehended by U.S. authorities in April 2005 as she attempted to re-enter the United States.

While in the United Kingdom, Jennifer Grant continued her mortgage fraud scheme, according to officials, citing testimony of a representative of 21 victims from the United Kingdom who say they lost more than $600,000 in a fraud scheme Grant perpetrated.

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