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'ROBIN HUD' GETS HER WISH: 46-MONTH TERM

"Robin HUD," the former real estate agent who claimed she stole about $6 million from HUD to help the poor, was sentenced Friday to the maximum prison term of nearly four years.

U.S. District Judge Herbert Murray issued the 46-month sentence at the request of the agent, Marilyn Harrell, who federal officials said stole more from the government than any individual.

"I will ask you for the maximum term because I deserve it," Ms. Harrell told the judge. "I have never said what I did was right. In fact, if a person steals 5 cents then they should be done with whatever the court sees fit."

Murray also sentenced Ms. Harrell to three years' probation and 624 hours of community service and ordered her to pay $600,000 in restitution. She also was ordered to serve a concurrent one-year sentence on the tax charge.

Prosecutors asked Murray to refigure the federal sentencing guideline formula used to determine her sentence, moving the limits from 30 to 37 months to 37 to 46 months, because of aggravating factors.

"We got what we asked for. You have to be satisfied with that," assistant U.S. attorney Gary Jordan said.

Despite Ms. Harrell's comments, public defender Anthony Gallagher, who asked for a 16-month sentence, said he intended to appeal the longer sentence. Ms. Harrell, 46, will not be eligible for parole.

As an escrow agent, Ms. Harrell collected money from the sale of properties purchased with federal Department of Housing and Urban Development-guaranteed loans that had been foreclosed. Ms. Harrell said lax management allowed her to divert the proceeds.

The actual size of the theft and how much she gave to charity were not resolved Friday. Ms. Harrell has admitted stealing $5.7 million and claimed she gave more than $5 million away. Prosecutors said she failed to turn in to HUD's Washington office about $6.6 million from the sale of 99 properties between 1985 and 1988, and gave about $1.1 million to charity.

Ms. Harrell pleaded guilty in January to stealing government property and filing a false tax return. The two charges carried a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

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