DETROIT - Angela Reed, a Gulf War hero, was awarded three Bronze Stars for acts of heroism in a combat zone.
On Thursday, a judge thanked her for her service before sentencing her to prison for what he called a deplorable act: taking cash bribes and preventing homeless people from getting the benefits they so badly need.
"It's just not fair because people who have been homeless the longest continue to be homeless, while somebody who may not be or who has been homeless a week gets housing preference, which is just not fair to those who have been homeless for so long," said Lewis Hickson.
Hickson is disgusted. He runs a homeless shelter saying the truly homeless get on a list to be given $15,000 for housing. Reed, who worked for the state of Michigan, put non-homeless people on the list so they could get the money. The true homeless were left out on the street.
"People who abuse positions of public authority have got to pay the price for crimes that they commit," said former prosecutor Keith Corbett.
For $700 Reed would put you on the list. At least 30 people scammed a total of $500,000 in benefits. The money is supposed to help the homeless get back on their feet.
"We cannot afford to ignore this and say, 'Well it's not a big deal, it's a small amount of money.' We have to pinch every penny like households have to pinch pennies in their place and to allow this to continue would be a violation of the government's responsibility," said Corbett.
In court, Reed cried. She asked for mercy. She has no prior convictions and cooperated in the case, hoping her war record and three Bronze Stars might nudge the judge into giving her a lighter sentence. The judge could have given her five years in prison. Instead, he gave her one year and one day.
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