VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The man at the center of a fraud case that spread to four Hampton Roads cities will serve 14 months in prison.
Edward Prince was charged with fraud involving three victims in Virginia Beach. Prosecutors said Prince took money for headstones but never delivered them to the clients.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, prosecutors said this was more than just a case of bad business. “Any time you prey upon somebody who’s just lost their husband or another loved one, it’s very sad,” said Macie Pridgen of the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney. “I think the judge took that into account when making his sentence.”
Judge Les Lilley scolded Prince before pronouncing sentence. “You took money from people at the most emotional time of their lives. This was a breach of trust with other human beings.”
On Tuesday, Prince received a six-year sentence for the charge of obtaining money by false pretenses — with all but one year and two months of it suspended. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,639 to the three victims.
One of the victims was a woman who had just lost her husband and paid Prince $6,000. Prince said in court that he ordered her stone from a wholesaler, but prosecutors say they investigated that claim and it did not check out.
Prince says he will pay the restitution from money he says he is owed from the Veterans Administration. Prince says the VA owes him from $60-80,000 that he will receive in the next three to six months.
Prince was convicted of fraud in Portsmouth in January, was sentenced to 16 days in jail, and made restitution to the victim. He pleaded guilty in Chesapeake and will be sentenced later this month. He is awaiting trial for fraud in Norfolk in January.