Mortgage fraud kingpin Phillip E. Hill was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison Friday. U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. said the defendant and his family were likely to find the sentence “incredibly harsh,” but he said it could have been worse, given the damage inflicted by the once high-flying real estate mogul.

Convicted in March on 168 counts of fraud and money laundering, Hill faced as many as 40 years under federal sentencing guidelines for his role in orchestrating the largest mortgage fraud scheme in Georgia history. More than $38.5 million was lost during the course of Hill’s operation, according to a pre-sentencing report, a scheme that involved sales of more than 50 luxury homes and more than 250 condo units.

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