WASHINGTON (AP) — A former government subcontractor is being sent to prison for stealing $1.8 million to fund her extravagant lifestyle from the agency that seeks cures to life-threatening illnesses.

Nicole Shantelle Smith was sentenced to 20 months after pleading guilty to taking the funds meant for construction projects at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Prosecutors say the 38-year-old from Upper Marlboro, Md., used most of the money for indulgences including new homes, luxury cars, designer clothes, cosmetics and vacations to places like the Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

Smith also was ordered to pay back all the money she stole between 2004 and 2007, when she was responsible for helping administer the NIH projects. Prosecutors say NIH used money that would have gone to biomedical research to cover the losses.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (3)
  1. freddie b says:

    20 months is that all! im not a crook but thats kinda tempting? do 20months come out and live like a king! but i think i’ll pass………………

  2. pigeon says:

    How she going to pay back that much money – $5.00 a week? Is part of her judgement/sentencing that her assets are to be sold for reimbursement purposes – if not, they sure as heck should be. She’s no better then a drug dealer – houses, cars, etc. should be confiscated and put on the market for sale. I bet you could have one heck of a profitable “yard sale”.

  3. petfriend says:

    Considering the potential for loss of life due to the long term ramifications of stealing from this type of institution, I think 20 months is way to short.

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