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Florida pair sentenced in multimillion-dollar coin laundry bank fraud

MIAMI (Reuters) - The leaders of a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and real estate scheme run out of an abandoned Florida coin laundry store have been sentenced to decades in jail by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn sentenced Darryl Burke to 30 years in prison and Vicki Garland to 15 years on Monday. They are from Delray Beach on Florida's east coast. Both are aged 50.

They were convicted of bank fraud and wire fraud conspiracy in early February by a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale. Burke was convicted on four counts of bank fraud, and Garland was convicted on three counts.

They used the coin laundry's address to set up fake companies and false identities to obtain bank loans to buy up properties in low-income neighborhoods and collect money from the federal government's Section 8 voucher program and from poor tenants.

They also created a fake name, "David Middleton," to dodge taxes on some of the investment properties.

The pair earned “millions of dollars” from the operation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and used the money to buy a fleet of luxury cars, a waterfront property as well as courtside Miami Heat season tickets.

Burke was convicted in 1997 in south Florida on federal bank fraud charges for activities dating back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by David Adams and Eric Beech)

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