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Judge sentences couple to prison in guardianship fraud case

July 16, 2021 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque married couple who pleaded guilty in 2019 but then failed to appear for sentencing in an $11 million fraud case involving a firm that provided guardianship and other services to people with special needs now face years in prison.

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Susan K. Harris to 47 years in prison and William S. Harris to 15 years and also ordered them to pay restitution to victims.

Susan Harris, 74, was president of Ayudando Guardians Inc. and William Harris, 60, worked as a guardian.

U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez said the couple’s criminal conduct left many former clients destitute and homeless.

Susan Harris pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. William Harris pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit money laundering.

Both were originally scheduled to be sentenced in March 2020 but they fled New Mexico and were arrested in April 2020 in Oklahoma.