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July 17, 2013

Ex-Chelsea housing director McLaughlin gets 3 years

BOSTON (AP) — The former executive director of the Chelsea Housing Authority has been sentenced to three years in prison by a judge who said he "picked the pockets" of authority residents.

Michael McLaughlin, who was a Methuen town manager in the 1990s, pleaded guilty to trying to hide his inflated salary by submitting false reports to state and federal authorities. He resigned in 2011 under pressure from Gov. Deval Patrick after The Boston Globe reported his annual salary was $360,000.

Before his sentencing today, McLaughlin said he "truly regretted" filing false reports and blamed it on his stubbornness and ego. His lawyer had argued McLaughlin shouldn't get prison time because he had no criminal record and needs to care for his sick wife.

But U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock exceeded prosecutors' request for 18 months in prison, saying the 67-year-old McLaughlin committed "very serious crimes."

In a statement The Department of Housing and Community Development said the "sentencing brought an end to what was a difficult period for the Chelsea Housing Authority."

The Department of Housing and Community Development has been and continues to be focused on implementing a number of reforms to the public housing system which have increased accountability and transparency within housing authorities and improved services to tenants,” the statement said.

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