PROVIDENCE (AP) — A Rhode Island woman who cheated close friends, her stepbrother and firefighters out of nearly $5 million to fund a lavish lifestyle was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution, federal prosecutors said.

Monique Brady, 45, of East Greenwich, pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and obstructing an IRS investigation. U.S. Chief District Judge John McConnell sentenced her to eight years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered her to pay nearly $5 million in restitution to the victims.

Brady solicited investments for her real estate management company, which she said had contracts for large-scale rehabilitation work on foreclosed properties across New England.

In reality, prosecutors said, Brady's firm was often hired by banks for small tasks like mowing grass or changing locks, and did no work on most projects for which she solicited investor funds. She cheated 23 people out of $4.8 million, prosecutors said, and used the money to buy a million-dollar home, vacations and and luxury items, such as her collection of Louis Vuitton shoes.

Brady sobbed as she spoke in court, apologizing for her “deep and wicked” actions, WPRI-TV reported. Brady has said her gambling addiction is to blame.

Brady bought a one-way ticket to Vietnam as the case proceeded and was arrested the day before her scheduled flight, prosecutors said.

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