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Nonprofit agency's former head

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NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has sentenced a nonprofit agency's former director to five years in prison and nearly $475,000 in restitution and fines for a kickback scheme with house-gutting contractors after Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon also ordered Stacey Jackson to spend three years on supervised release once she's out of prison.

Lemmon told Jackson to pay $50,000 in fines and $424,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and individual victims.

Jackson was director of an organization called New Orleans Affordable Homeownership.

Jackson apologized tearfully before the judge handed down the sentence, saying she had made her family suffer for seven years. "I can't stress how sorry I am," she said.

Under former Mayor Ray Nagin, Jackson's organization, New Orleans Affordable Homeownership, got millions of dollars to gut or board up houses that were owned by poor or elderly residents and had been damaged by Katrina.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Harper said during a hearing Thursday that federal agents tallied $350,000 billed through NOAH to HUD for work actually done by volunteers or charities.

Granting defense attorney Edward Castaing's request to let Jackson spend the holidays at home, Lemmon said she must report to prison Jan. 12.

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