Real-Life "American Gangster" Sentenced in $17K Theft

Frank Lucas' exploits as a major heroin importer in the 1970s were immortalized in the 2007 movie in which he was played by Denzel Washington

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    AP
    Frank Lucas, the man that Denzel Washington portrays in "American Gangster" is shown in New York on Nov. 2, 2007.

    The man whose career as a drug kingpin formed the basis for the movie "American Gangster" has been sentenced for stealing a government check.

    Frank Lucas had pleaded guilty in May to taking a $17,000 federal assistance check, cashing it and then claiming it was lost and cashing a replacement check.

    A state Superior Court judge sentenced the 81-year-old Lucas to five years' probation Friday.

    Lucas suffers from arthritis and diabetes and appeared at the sentencing in a wheelchair.

    Lucas' exploits as a major heroin importer in the 1970s were immortalized in the 2007 movie in which he was played by Denzel Washington.

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