Ex-Chelsea Housing Director Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison



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 Updated July 17, 2013, 5:45 pm

The former director of the Chelsea Housing Authority has received a three-year prison sentence for illegally hiding his true salary.

During sentencing Wednesday, Judge Richard Woodlock said Michael McLaughlin had “a career in public service in which much good was done.” But Woodlock also said McLaughlin picked the pockets of Chelsea public housing residents by falsifying records and budgets to hide an exorbitant salary.

McLaughlin pleaded guilty in February to under-reporting his salary in annual budgets from 2008 to 2011 and submitting the false figures to state and federal regulators.

He resigned in 2011 under pressure from Gov. Deval Patrick after The Boston Globe reported his annual salary was $360,000.

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz called the three-year sentence a just outcome after his plea bargain.

“We’re gratified,” she said. “We sought a term of imprisonment against Mr. McLaughlin and the court imposed a sentence of that type.”

The three-year sentence is actually twice as long as what federal prosecutors requested.

McLaughlin’s case sparked a call for statewide reform of Massachusetts housing authorities.

With reporting by WBUR’s Mark Degon and The Associated Press

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