ATLANTA – A former Georgia mayor will serve nearly five years in federal prison after stealing nearly $925,000 in COVID-19 relief funds that his city handed out.

U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash sentenced Stonecrest ex-mayor Jason Lary to 57 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay nearly $120,000 in restitution.

The 60-year-old Lary pleaded guilty in January to fraud and theft charges. The judge says Lary’s actions were “deplorable” and rejected a defense request for Lary to avoid prison time.

Lary won’t be required to report to prison until after Dec. 15, giving him time for more cancer treatments.