SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — A metro Atlanta man is heading to prison after a jury convicted him of stealing abandoned homes and renting them to tenants.

WSB-TV reports that a Cobb County judge sentenced John Harris on Friday to 40 years in prison. A jury last week convicted Harris of 34 counts of racketeering and theft.

Authorities arrested Harris last fall. Prosecutors say his company, New Life Granted, essentially took over dozens of abandoned, foreclosed homes by changing the locks. The homes were then rented to tenants who were clueless that Harris and his company didn’t own the properties.

Chiquella White, one of the tenants who rented from Harris, says she’ll sleep better knowing Harris is going to prison and “this chapter is closed.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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