Frank Lucas, the 1970s heroin kingpin who saw his life depicted by actor Denzel Washington in the 2007 film "American Gangster," is facing jail time ... again.
Lucas, now 81 and confined to a wheelchair with hands swollen from arthritis and diabetes, appeared in court on Monday (December 12) facing allegations that he bilked the U.S. government out of $17,300.
According to the New York Daily News, the once predominant drug kingpin has been charged with theft by deception, after he allegedly told the U.S. Treasury he lost a Social Security check with funds earmarked for his 15-year-old son back in early 2009, and asked for a duplicate, prosecutors said.
Then, he cashed both checks in Newark.
The crime could send Lucas to prison for up to five years, if found guilty.
Lucas has denied any wrong doing, and has been trying to negotiate a plea agreement to keep him out of jail.
He was busted in 1975 for running a billion dollar drug smuggling business, and sentenced to 70 years. After being caught, Lucas worked out a deal with authorities, which helped the Feds make more than 100 other arrests of other criminal peers and dirty cops.
He and his family were placed in the witness protection program.
Lucas' life was later depicted in the 2007 box office hit, American Gangster," making him a celebrity. Three former DEA agents later sued the movie distributor for $55 million, claiming they were slandered. The suit was eventually tossed out.
Before becoming a Hollywood icon, and after being released from prison, Lucas was reportedly busted in 1984 for trying to exchange an ounce of heroin and $13,000 for a kilo of cocaine. He served seven years in prison and was released in 1991.
From then on, he stayed out of trouble, and faded into obscurity until the movie about his life was released.