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Va. slumlord forced to live in own slum

RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A Virginia slumlord was sentenced to jail time and house arrest in one of his properties where he had ignored property maintenance violations, officials said.

Oliver C. Lawrence, of Richmond will serve the first 30 days of his sentence in jail, and will spend the remainder of his 70-day sentence with electronic monitoring in a small house owned by Bayou Properties, his company, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

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Home incarceration is desirable because it means there will be one less vacant property that could attract drug activity and other crime, the report said. Further, if other slumlords face the prospect of being compelled to live in their properties someday, it may induce them to make improvements, Greg Lukanuski, an assistant city attorney who prosecuted the case, said.

Lawrence will also be required to work on a sheriff's crew that cleans up neglected properties.

Lawrence owns 150 to 300 properties, the city said, adding that he owes fines of more than $177,000.

"As long as (Lawrence) still owns property and they're not up to code, we will still continue to issue notices of violation on them," John Whealton, a city property inspector, said.

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