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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The owner of an Asheville-area water services company has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for faking thousands of tests designed to ensure that drinking water is safe.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that 50-year-old Linda Allen Knox was sentenced in federal court Tuesday.

Knox pleaded guilty in 2010 to mail fraud. Prosecutors say the owner of Weaverville-based If It’s Water and More billed customers between 2005 and 2010 for water sample collection services that were not performed.

In 1998, Knox paid a fine and did community service after pleading guilty to misconduct by a public official after she was charged with embezzling more than $10,000 from Marshal when she served as town clerk there. The newspaper says Knox also faces conspiracy charges in Madison County.

Credit: The Associated Press.