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Former St. Louis HUD Director Sentenced to 18 Months for Bribery

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A former director for the St. Louis office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for taking $38,000 in bribes to approve $1.5 million in mortgage refinancing.

Lavern Charles Hester, 58, of Florissant, Mo., pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to provide and accept an illegal gratuity. He appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge John A. Ross.

Federal prosecutors say Hester was responsible for approving and overseeing FHA financing of multifamily properties. In June of 2007 and December of 2008 he took the money from Donald Robinson and another person in exchange for approving $1.5 million in refinancing on the mortgage on HUD subsidized multifamily property known as Chevy Chase Apartments located in Mexico, Mo.

Robinson was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to related charges.

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