A Maryland man who admitted embezzling $1.2 million in federal funds while working as a money manager with the U.S. Agency for International Development, was sentenced Friday to 60 months in prison.
William Burns of Burtonsville, Md., also received three years of supervised probation and was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service after his prison term expires.Burns pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.2 million, attempting to steal another $45,000, and evading federal income taxes on more than $1 million in an Aug. 11 plea bargaining agreement.
Under the agreement, Burns surrendered virtually all of his possessions, including his home and two cars.
Burns, 48, had been expected to receive a maximum sentence of 37 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. But U.S. District Judge Norma Johnson said she was bypassing normal sentencing guidelines because of the severity of the crime, saying Burns "abused" the public trust.
"I would like to apologize," Burns said in court. "I'm sorry and ashamed for what I did." His wife of three years, Cathy, burst into tears.
Burns admitted to embezzling the funds from 1982 through May 1988 by taking the money from unused AID travel accounts in his capacity as a financial manager.
He was arrested after questions were raised about his lifestyle, which included ownership of a $400,000 home and five cars. His salary was about $35,000.
Burns' wife was given immunity to the charges but also agreed to surrender most of her property, with the exception of her wedding ring, $10,000 she brought to the marriage and necessary household utensils.