NE Ark. developer sentenced to 5 years in prison

ASH FLAT, Ark. (AP) - A developer in northeast Arkansas is to serve five years in prison following a guilty plea to a theft charge.

A judge sentenced 65-year-old Wayne Lee Watkins of Hardy during a Thursday hearing. Watkins was also ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution and $2,500 in fines and court costs.

The Jonesboro Sun reports Watkins eluded police for years before his arrest. Watkins sold vacation and retirement land in and around Cherokee Village. Officials say buyers would make a down payment and then make subsequent payments to Watkins.

Prosecutors say Watkins took out other mortgages on properties he sold and then defaulted.

Watkins was arrested at a Houston airport in 2011 and has spent the last 16 months in the Sharp County Jail.

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