ANNAPOLIS, JUNE 20 -- Attorneys for former Maryland escrow agent Marilyn L. Harrell today countered prosecutors' contentions that she kept most of the $5.7 million she stole from the government and argued that she should get a lenient sentence for her "unprecedented" cooperation with investigators.

In attempting to bolster Harrell's claim that she gave the bulk of the money away to charity, which got her the nickname "Robin HUD," her attorneys produced a check-by-check accounting of how she spent the funds, skimmed from the proceeds of housing foreclosure sales for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

All told, according to the accounting, contained in a memo filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Harrell personally gained only $243,000 during three years of illegal activity.

That claim is dramatically at odds with the government's position. In a pre-sentencing memo filed last week, federal prosecutors maintained that Harrell gave away just $1.1 million and spent the rest on herself, her relatives and her businesses.

According to the 13-page analysis submitted by Harrell's attorneys, she spent $5.2 million on gifts to individuals and organized charities and on properties, taxes and other in-kind services that allegedly served some beneficial purpose. Included in that figure are donations Harrell made to members of her family, but those made up 3 to 8 percent of the total, the memo states.

Her largest single expenditure, of $277,500, went to a Clinton-based corporation called Safe and Sound Security Inc., which also received contributions of $7,000 and $70,000. The nature of that corporation could not be determined tonight.

Other recipients include Teen Challenge of Maryland, which received $229,000, the Maryland Suburban Rescue Ministries, which received $193,000, and housing activist Mitch Snyder's Community for Creative Non-Violence, which received $11,000. Numerous churches are also listed as beneficiaries.

Prosecutors are using their figures and the extended time period during which Harrell stole from HUD to argue that she should be sentenced to 46 months in prison when she is appears in court on Friday. Harrell pleaded guilty in January to one count of embezzlement and one count of income tax evasion. Federal guidelines call for her to receive a sentence of 30 to 37 months.

Today, defense attorneys argued that Harrell should be given a maximum 16-month prison term, with half served in a federal penitentiary and half in a halfway house or other community-based program.

Her attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Anthony Gallagher, said the reduced sentence is justified since Harrell's "acceptance of responsibility is extraordinary" and she helped expose mismanagement at HUD by testifying before congressional committees and granting numerous interviews about her acitivities.

Harrell's case "is no more notorious than those of Oliver North and John Poindexter. In those {Iran-contra} cases, like . . . Harrell's, an aberrant desire to do a greater good clouded the defendant's judgment," the memo states. A footnote adds that because North received probation and Poindexter was given a six-month prison term "surely . . . Harrell should not be treated more harshly."