A former Boston city employee was sentenced Friday to 41 months in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme, including the theft of more than $500,000 in public funds.
Celia Thomas, 49, a former program manager for the Boston Department of Neighborhood Development, was sentenced by US District Judge William G. Young in a case involving properties in Dorchester, Mattapan, and Milton.
Young ordered Thomas, a Dorchester resident, to pay $535,000 in restitution, as well as a $7,500 fine. After serving her jail term, Thomas will be under three years of supervised release.
The sentencing comes two months after Thomas was convicted of multiple counts of wire and bank fraud and theft of public funds. The scheme involved the recruitment of straw buyers — people who did not intend to live in the properties being sold — and the submission of false loan applications, prosecutors said.
Thomas allegedly rented properties to low-income tenants, collecting rents and federal subsidies. Meanwhile, the mortgages went unpaid and fell into default, prosecutors said.
“You have done damage, lasting damage, to these people whom you fleeced and you have done damage to the community in which you live,” Young said in court Friday, according to the US attorney’s office.
Thomas’s lawyer, John Hightower, said he had hoped Thomas would avoid a prison term, which will be appealed. Hightower said Thomas was coerced into participating in the scheme by others involved in it.