05/03/2012 01:30 pm ET

Harry Thomas Jr. Sentenced: Former D.C. Councilmember Gets 38-Month Prison Term

WASHINGTON — Former D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., who pleaded guilty in January to stealing more than $350,000 in government funds and filing false tax returns, has been sentenced to 38 months in prison, reports The Washington Examiner's Liz Farmer.

Prosecutors recommended a 46-month sentence for Thomas, a 51-year-old Democrat who represented Ward 5. The former councilmember's lawyers asked for 18 months instead, arguing that his "'history of extraordinary community service' should be taken into account," according to The Washington Post.

Thomas himself filed a letter with the sentencing judge. The letter opens with Thomas saying his first step toward making amends will be "taking full responsibility for my conduct and accepting the punishment that will be imposed."

Some D.C. observers were unimpressed with Thomas' letter, especially the first line of it: "As a native Washingtonian, I have tried to dedicate my life to serving others and, in particular, to helping youth in the District of Columbia."

That self-serving opening sentence probably was met with a cold stare by the judge. Thomas obviously has not dedicated his life to any such thing. He has dedicated it to petty and major theft, self-dealing and a wonton disregard for the young people he talked about so glowingly as he picked their pockets.