A 38-year-old Arlington man was sentenced to five years in prison yesterday on charges he masterminded a Northern Virginia scheme that prosecutors said may have defrauded credit card customers of as much as $30,000.

Robert Eugene Early was given the maximum prison sentence by federal District Judge Oren R. Lewis for using a telephone to defraud a customer of Appliance Underwriters, a Springfield firm.

According to prosecutors, the firm falsely claimed it would repair appliances under contracts that cost between $105 and $191 each. The scheme may have raised as much as $30,000 in credit card sales although the firm never made the promised repairs, the lawyers said.

Early, Nancy O'Neal, 22, of Honolulu, and Reginald Glenn Moffitt, 27, of the District, were indicted on Feb. 27 on fraud and other charges relating to the company.

Early and O'Neal were convicted last month of using a telephone to learn a customer's credit card number and then billing the card for services that were not performed. The other charges were dropped or dismissed during the trial. O'Neal will be sentenced next Friday. Moffitt pleaded guilty last month to a related misdemeanor, and was given a suspended sentence in exchange for his testimony.