(CN) – Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, considered a national hero after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was sentenced to 4 years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to the White House while being vetted in 2004 for the job of Homeland Security secretary.
“I know I must be punished,” The Associated Press quoted Kerik as saying before sentencing. “I only ask that you allow me to return to my wife and two little girls as soon as possible.”
At his plea hearing last November, prosecutors say Kerik admitted to receiving $255,000 worth of renovations to his Riverdale, N.Y., apartment between 1999 and 2000 through Interstate, a New York-area contractor.
Officials say Kerik also admitted to not reporting the value of the renovations on his tax returns, and that he lied to White House officials concerning the renovations when he was being considered for the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“It is a very sad day when the former Commissioner of the greatest police department in the world is sentenced to prison for base criminal conduct,” U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. The sentence “is one of the most powerful recent reminders that no one in this country is above the law.”
Kerik, 54, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay nearly $188,000 in restitution.