PORTLAND (AP) — The former pastor of a Brunswick church has been sentenced to two years of probation for receiving nearly $150,000 in federal benefits while also collecting a salary.

Carroll Freemont Pennell had faced 18 months in prison at sentencing Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1dJQHOQ ) reported that the judge said he showed the 69-year-old Pennell leniency because of his failing health and because the cost of Pennell’s care in prison would exceed the amount he stole.

Prosecutors said Pennell took the money over 10 years while pastor of the Word of God Fellowship Church.

The benefits were contingent on him not earning more than $500 per month. Prosecutors say he got around the rule by having his $300-per-week salary issued to his wife.

Pennell apologized in court.

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