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Fugitive Nabbed, Sent to Prison

DALLAS (CN) - A fugitive mortgage fraudster who was on the run for 6 weeks until the Coast Guard arrested him on a shrimp boat in the Caribbean has been sentenced to 3 years in prison. James Ragnauth, 50, pleaded guilty in September 2009 to defrauding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

At sentencing on Friday, Ragnauth was found to be the leader of a scheme that fraudulently arranged funding of 30 residential loans for more than $1.8 million.

Ragnauth incorporated J.R. Mortgage, in Dallas, and was in charge of its day-to-day loan operations and supervised several loan officers, including co-defendants Rosa Galvan and Ignacio Jasso. Galvan and Jasso have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on Feb. 26.

Ragnauth, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was nailed by the Coast Guard as he tried to flee to his native Guyana. He made it about halfway to Guyana, and was arrested in international waters between Cuba and Haiti.

Ragnauth also was ordered to pay $205,000 in restitution.

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