CHICAGO (STMW) – A Chicago man was sentenced on Thursday to more than 7 years in federal prison for posing as a federal government official in a scheme to sell properties he did not own out from underneath the real owners.

John Hemphill, 41, was convicted in August of mail fraud and false impersonation of a federal official. U.S. District Judge William Hibbler sentenced him to 90 months in prison term Thursday and ordered Hemphill to pay $166,910 in restitution, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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According to evidence at trial, since 2008, Hemphill engaged in a scheme to defraud property owners and prospective purchasers by creating and recording fictitious deeds with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, then posing as the property owner to sell the property.

He typically filed a fictitious deed conveying title to a parcel of property to one of Hemphill’s businesses, and then filed a second fictitious deed purporting to convey title to a third party. He told prospective buyers that he and his business entities held title as a “federal receiver” or had other lawful authority to sell the properties.

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In early 2009, he falsely sold property at 5436 S. Paulina in Chicago to an undercover agent for $6,000, the release said. Hemphill was arrested on Oct. 14, 2009, after purporting to complete the sale at his office at 211 E. 79th St.

Two witnesses at trial, a La Grange police officer and a victim who bought a home Hemphill did not own, testified that when they challenged him, he produced a bogus badge indicating he was a federal agent, the release said.

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