DETROIT -

A pregnant cousin of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has avoided prison for racketeering and embezzlement charges.

Nneka Cheeks pleaded guilty in September for the theft of nearly $20,000 from a mayoral mansion restoration bank account.

Cheeks was Kilpatrick's liaison to the Manoogian Mansion Restoration Society Fund starting in 2007. Authorities say the money was spent on furniture, her wedding and other expenses.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Margie Braxton deviated from sentencing guidelines, which could have given Cheeks 20 years in prison, to instead sentence her to five years of probation.

"This is not the type of person I am. I take responsibility and will try to pay back the money as soon as I can. I apologize. I'm very remorseful," Cheeks said.

Cheeks is due in April.
Kilpatrick resigned as mayor in 2008 as part of a plea in a criminal case.