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Courts and Crime

House-flipper gets early release, tries to change his mind
Florida man will serve 18 months of community service in community affected most

Florida man Blaine Murphy will serve 18 months of his two year sentence doing community service in Cleveland's Slavic Village.
Courtesy of State of Florida
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In The Region:
A Florida man sentenced in May to two years in prison for illegally flipping more than 200 houses in Cuyahoga County got his wish for early release from prison.
But after Blaine Murphy heard the terms from Cuyahoga County Judge Richard McMonagle, defense attorney Larry Zukerman says his client tried to change his mind.

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“This is not what my client had anticipated nor what he wanted to do," Zuckermen says. "So he asked the courts to simply send him back to prison, let him serve the remainder of his time and the judge declined to do so.”

So Murphy will serve the remaining 18 months of his sentence in a home he owns in Cleveland’s Slavic Village, pay nearly $300,000 in fines, restitution and costs and serve 3,000 hours of community service in the neighborhood.

Marie Kittredge, executive director of Slavic Village Development, says scams like Murphy’s have left the community with 750 boarded-up houses. However, she says the neighborhood is working to recover and is grateful for the help.

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“As we’ve been talking about the potential for such a sentence, from our perspective, it’s much more helpful to have an extra set of hands in the work we do than to have someone locked up in prison," Kittredge says. "So, we look forward to have any additional help that’s available.”

If Murphy fails to complete the requirements, he will face another 10 years in prison.

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