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A Dundalk man was sentenced to 5 1/4 years in prison Friday for conspiring to burn down a Lutherville home to collect insurance on it, the U.S. attorney's office said.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett also ordered Hassan Hammoud, 60, to pay $828,773 in restitution, the amount paid out by the insurance company in the arson scheme.

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According to a plea agreement, Hammoud schemed with his employer, Saleh Fakhoury, owner of a pizza restaurant, to destroy Fakhoury's home so he could use the insurance to pay off debts. Fakhoury, 49, who previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy, owed more than $200,000 to credit companies and others, plus more than $1.7 million to banks for mortgages on his Lutherville home and a second residence in Florida, prosecutors said.

Fakhoury's Lutherville home burned down in March 2009, and Fakhoury paid Hammoud $20,000 as agreed for setting the fire, according to the prosecutor's office. Fakhoury then filed an insurance claim for nearly $3.2 million, which the insurance company denied, though it did pay off the mortgage. Fakhoury, who is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 5, agreed as part of his plea deal to drop a civil suit he filed nearly three years ago against the insurance company.

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