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Man Who Portrayed Self As Pastor Gets Prison

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File photo of a prison cell. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a prison cell. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston man who portrayed himself as a pastor running a religious-themed investment program has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison for fraud.

A federal judge in Houston on Friday sentenced 53-year-old Samuel Ray Palasota in what prosecutors call a $1 million Ponzi scheme. A jury last October convicted Palasota of 24 counts of mail and wire fraud.

Investigators say the real estate scam that Palasota called “The Maker’s Resources” initially cost a Mississippi woman at least $650,000. Authorities say Palasota then enticed the woman into selling her home and giving him those funds, too.

Authorities say Palasota used the woman’s money to buy himself luxury cars, clothing and jewelry.

Further details on the victim, in the fraud since 2009, weren’t immediately released.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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