A FORMER real estate agent who admitted he defrauded about 50 clients of more than $1 million will spend the next two years in prison for his crimes.

Joseph N. Reilly, 69, was sentenced yesterday to 26 months in prison for mail fraud for scamming clients between January 2009 and April 2011.

Reilly acted as a property manager for his clients, collecting rent and utility payments for owners and paying utility and tax bills, according to Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Along the way, he pocketed more than $1 million, Hartman said. To hide his duplicity, he mailed monthly statements to tenants and property owners, including one statement listing the balance in an owner's account as $490,565.58 - when the balance instead was just $86.80, according to the May indictment.

His crimes prompted about two-dozen civil lawsuits against him, according to court records.