Former Maine Turnpike Authority executive director Paul Violette has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for misusing as much as $230,000 in agency funds.

Violette pleaded guilty to stealing $150,000 to $230,000 from the authority for his personal use from 2003 to 2010.

“What I did was wrong. I am deeply ashamed,” Violette said at his hearing on April 6.

He had settled a civil lawsuit in December, agreeing along with two surety bonding providers to pay back damages totaling $430,000.

The lawsuit accused Violette of using gift certificates for personal benefit, charging hotels, meals and travel to the MTA, being overpaid in claims for unused vacation pay, and fraudulently overclaiming sick pay.

Violette began serving his sentence, which Justice Roland Cole imposed, at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham on Friday.

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