NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – 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 on 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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