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United Way Chief’s Sentence Upheld

June 1, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court today let stand the seven-year prison sentence former United Way president William Aramony received for stealing money from the nation’s largest charity.

The justices, without comment, rejected an appeal in which Aramony argued that his prison term exceeds federal guidelines.

Aramony was convicted in 1995 of defrauding the charity out of about $600,000. He was found guilty of fraud, tax and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors said Aramony looted United Way accounts to romance young women and enrich himself. He was forced to resign in 1992 after 22 years with the charity.

In the appeal acted on today, Aramony contended that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that last January upheld his punishment ``produces unjustifiably harsh sentences″ because it increases a prison term whenever a defendant ``uses his position in a charitable organization to perpetrate a fraud.″

The stiffer sentencing guidelines should apply, the appeal said, only when a defendant ``falsely represents that he has authority to act on behalf of a charitable or other organization.″

In upholding his conviction, the appeals court said Aramony ``did not misrepresent his authority to act on behalf of (United Way) but he did misrepresent that he was acting wholly on behalf″ of it.

The case is Aramony vs. U.S., 98-1720.

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