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Australian man gets 4 years for Calif. loan fraud

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — An Australian man who claimed to be a former jockey has been sentenced in California to four years in federal prison for a $5 million loan fraud.

Federal authorities say 53-year-old Christopher Woods of Sydney was sentenced Tuesday in Riverside federal court. He also must repay $3.5 million to victims.

Prosecutors say Woods and his partners obtained more than $5 million in less than eight months from lenders who were told their loans were safe. In fact, the money was used to buy luxury goods and to place horse racing bets.

The money was funneled to Hong Kong and Los Angeles bank accounts.

The scheme's organizer, Henrik Sardariani of Glendale, Calif., previously was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His brother got 6 ½ years. A fourth defendant awaits sentencing.