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Former Phoenix Real Estate Executive Gets Prison Sentence For Fake Accounting

The former chief financial officer of a Phoenix-based real estate company was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Wednesday after being found guilty of deceiving investors.

Brian Block was sentenced by a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan for inflating financial statements of American Realty Capital Properties Inc. The judge says Block deliberately falsified accounts and lied about it at trial.

Block was charged with securities fraud and conspiracy last year. Prosecutors say he plugged fake numbers into a spreadsheet that was used to prepare the company’s financial report for the second quarter of that year in order to disguise a calculation error in a previous report.

The case started in 2014, when American Realty accused Block and other employees of intentionally concealing accounting errors, causing the company's stock price to drop 37 percent, equivalent to $3 billion of market value.  

Federal sentencing guidelines allowed for up to 105 years in prison for the convictions, according to prosecutors.

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Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.