- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Richmond couple escaped prison time for defrauding the federal economic stimulus program.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/1VteQwM ) that 53-year-old Morris Cephas and 46-year-old Chiroya Cephas were sentenced to two years probation Tuesday in U.S. District Court. They also were ordered to pay $121,000 in restitution.

The couple operated a construction, demolition and recycling company. They pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count each of submitting a false document in a fraud scheme involving American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The money was intended to help Cephas Industries Inc. build a plant to convert construction and demolition waste to fuel.

Morris Cephas is a former police officer and his wife is a former teacher. Prosecutors recommended probation, and U.S. District Judge James Spencer called the couple “good people.”

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