ST. LOUIS — A man who played a role in the fraudulent transfer of three St. Louis homes away from their owners in 2019 was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in federal prison.
A jury in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in May found Arondo Harris guilty of six counts of identity theft.
Prosecutors say Harris, 42, at least turned a "blind eye" to the fraud, submitting quit claim deeds that contained his forged signature to St. Louis officials. He should have at least suspected the other signatures were forged, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Berry said in court filings.
Two of the victims lost their family homes and another was rendered homeless, Berry wrote. A woman also faced the loss of her livelihood through the fraudulent use of her notary seal, Berry wrote.
Harris continues to deny responsibility and has kept collecting rent on the homes, Berry wrote
Berry sought a sentence within the 41 to 51 month range recommended in federal guidelines for the crimes.
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Harris' lawyers asked for probation and community service, saying he had repaired the homes at his own expense and would return them to their former owners "in a condition vastly improved" from what they were.