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Brothers get three years for trying to steal from One Fund

Brothers Domunique Grice (left) and Branden Mattier.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Brothers Domunique Grice (left) and Branden Mattier.

Sentencing two brothers who tried to steal $2 million from the fund set up to aid Boston Marathon bombing victims, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke tried something different today.

Saying he had never done it before, Locke gave the defendants, 23-year-old Branden Mattier and 28-year-old Domunique Grice, a choice. They could either accept a term of 4 1/2 to 5 years in state prison, or they could choose to serve 3 years in prison, followed by 3 years of probation and 468 hours of community service to people suffering from loss of limbs or brain injury.

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The brothers, both from Boston, chose shorter jail time.

“It will provide a constant reminder for three years of the population you tried to defraud,” Locke said.

Earlier in the sentencing hearing, both brothers addressed the judge individually, saying the case has changed them and they are remorseful for the pain they caused.

“No man could have taught me how to be a better man than this situation at hand,” said Mattier, who recently became a father.

“I am fully conscious of the situation at stake,” Grice said. “I was raised to stand up to anything that may be a result of my actions.”

Locke told the brothers that they took advantage of the benevolence of the many strangers who made sacrifices of time and money to contribute to the One Fund. He said they also preyed on the victims of the Marathon bombing, whom the fund was intended to support.

The brothers made a fraudulent claim on behalf of their long-dead aunt, saying she lost two legs in the attack on Boylston Street. Prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office said Mattier and Grice hoped to collect a large payout and had already made an appointment to test drive a Mercedes Benz.

They were convicted last week of charges of conspiracy to commit larceny over $250 and attempt to commit larceny over $250. Mattier was additionally found guilty of identify fraud.

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