Former contractor sentenced on fraud charges

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ABERDEEN, Miss. (AP) — DeSoto County developer James M. Harris Jr. has been sentenced to serve 21 months in prison in a federal fraud case.

Harris pleaded guilty plea last year to one count of loan and credit application fraud. Harris faced a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The Commercial Appeal reports (http://bit.ly/1pyos5x) Harris was sentenced Tuesday in Aberdeen by U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock.

Harris, 54, admitted that through his former development company, RH Holdings, he made false statements and submitted four fake invoices to Citizens National Bank in 2008 falsely claiming that his company, M&H Construction, needed to draw money from the $5 million bank loan to construct a box culvert at or near Cherry Hill subdivision when in reality the city of Southaven had already paid M&H $181,544 to install the culvert.

Harris' former partner in RH Holdings, DeSoto County developer Chuck Roberts, served 10 days in jail last year for his role in the bank fraud scheme.

Aycock also ordered Harris to pay $247,467 in restitution to Citizens Bank and serve five years of supervised probation following his release.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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