CHICAGO (CBS) — The former CEO of Republic Windows and Doors has been sentenced to four years in prison, and fined $100,000 after pleading guilty to stealing company machinery when he shut the business down in 2008.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports it was exactly five years ago when approximately 200 Republic Windows and Doors employees captured national attention by staging a sit-in on the day the factory closed – after only three days’ notice.

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Nine months later, Cook County prosecutors charged CEO Richard Gillman with a plot to steal truckloads of manufacturing equipment

Carl Rosen, president of the Western Region of the United Electrical Workers, said the Republic workers’ sit-in was key to Gillman’s prosecution.

“I’m certain we would not be standing here right now. In many, many bankruptcies, all kinds of assets are taken, and everybody looks the other direction,” he said.

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From the beginning, Republic workers asked prosecutors to look into Gillman’s dealings, and their accusations are among those to which he pleaded guilty on Thursday.

He has been accused of stealing more than $10 million in manufacturing equipment, with the fraud dating back to 2004.

Gillman apologized to the workers who came to court, but some said it did not seem genuine.

Defense attorney Ed Genson said “Gillman was a victim of the times. If you recall, this happened at the time of the economic downturn. There were mistakes made. He pled guilty today, acknowledging mistakes .”

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As Gillman was led off to jail, one of the former workers said, “See ya!”