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Fugitive Captured Via Web Pic Sentenced to Prison

Added: (Wed Nov 24 1999)

Pressbox (Press Release) - The former head of a luxury Manhattan apartment tenants association who was snared by an Internet photograph after fleeing to South Africa with hundreds of thousands of dollars, was sentenced to 22 months in prison Tuesday.

Steven Nelson Delit, 54, was arrested in May after voluntarily surrendering to authorities in Amsterdam after a person he had business dealings with saw his picture on the Voice of America international crime alert Web site and contacted the FBI legal attache in Pretoria.

Delit, a certified public accountant, pleaded guilty Friday to grand larceny and three violations of failing to file tax returns. He had faced up to 25 years in prison had he been convicted at trial.

He had lived in a luxury apartment building, organized a rent strike in 1990 after 70 of the 300 tenants in the 46-story building complained of violations including asbestos contamination, faulty elevators, water leaks and air conditioning breakdowns.

Delit was initially accused of stealing $1.7 million from the tenants, who included diplomats from France, Italy, Sweden and several African countries who paid rents ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 a month. Prosecutors said Tuesday that the amount stolen was in fact "hundreds of thousands of dollars."

"I'm sincerely remorseful for what I have done. I'm ashamed, I'm embarrassed and astonished that I could have done these things," Delit told Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Charles Solomon at his sentencing.

He will be eligible for release in 15 months and told the judge he intended to return to his wife and two children in South Africa, where he has maintained a home since fleeing the United States in 1990.

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