NORFOLK, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — A Chesapeake woman has been sentenced to 4½ years in prison after pleading guilty to operating a fraudulent scheme to rescue mortgage holders from foreclosure.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said 51-year-old Kathy Harps admitted that during the height of the mortgage bubble in 2006, she promised to assist homeowners with their mortgages and earn them money at the same time. Court filings show that she and two companies she created siphoned proceeds from refinanced mortgage loans and caused the default of at least four of them.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith sentenced Harps on Thursday.

Harps pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire mortgage fraud.

Federal prosecutors said in court filings that Harps obtained about $1.2 million in refinancing and that banks and homeowners lost about $650,000.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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