A federal judge in Baltimore has sentenced a former White House economist to 60 days in jail and fined her $1,500 for filing false tax returns.

U.S. District Judge Walter Black Jr. sentenced Dianne Levine, 43, of Chevy Chase to one year in prison, and suspended all but 60 days.

The judge also sentenced Levine to three years' probation, fined her $1,500 and ordered her to pay back taxes, interest and penalties.

Levine was a White House economist on the Council on Wage and Price Control in the executive office of the president during the Carter and Reagan administrations from 1975 to 1981.

"It is truly tragic," Black said. "You are a good person with an outstanding career. You fell, and you fell badly."

Levine wept during Tuesday's court appearance.

"I want to say how ashamed I am. I've always taught my children this {nation} is the best place in the world to live. I will never find myself in this position again," she told the judge.

Internal Revenue Service spokesman John Dearing said Levine understated her income and her husband's by $75,000 from 1979 to 1982.

Dearing said the Levines' tax returns omitted income, claimed false deductions and bore a forged signature of a tax preparer.

Levine is president of her own Rockville economic consulting firm.