NEW YORK, AUG. 30 -- Leona Helmsley, the billionaire hotel queen whose abrasive pursuit of luxury turned her into a symbol of avarice, was convicted today of tax evasion, mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government. While acquitting Helmsley, 69, of extorting merchandise and cash payoffs from hotel suppliers, a U.S. District Court jury convicted her on 33 of 41 felony counts on its fifth day of deliberations. Helmsley was found guilty of fraudulently billing her businesses for millions of dollars worth of personal luxuries, from $468 in Saks Fifth Avenue underwear to a $500,000 jade figurine to a $1 million limestone-and-marble swimming pool enclosure at her Greenwich, Conn., estate. She was also found to have cheated the Internal Revenue Service out of more than $1 million in taxes. Helmsley sat frozen while the guilty verdicts were read, occasionally shaking her head. Her lawyer, Gerald Feffer, cradled his head in his hands while her niece, Fran Becker, wiped away tears. Helmsley remained in the courtroom for an hour, conferring with lawyers and relatives, then walked down the front steps of the Manhattan courthouse, where she was mobbed by hundreds of reporters and bystanders before slipping into a limousine without comment. At sentencing, set for Nov. 14, Helmsley faces three to five years in prison on each felony count -- more than 100 years in all -- and more than $8 million in fines. Realistically, she is unlikely to receive more than several years in prison. She also will have to repay with interest and penalties the taxes she evaded. "The government had an ironclad case," juror Michael Clark said afterward. "Paperwise, they had the goods. ... Unlike Oliver North, they forgot to buy a shredder. ... The jury would have had to be deaf, dumb and blind not to figure out what was going on." Two of Helmsley's former top aides, Frank J. Turco and Joseph V. Licari, were convicted of assisting her in the tax evasion scheme. Turco was also acquitted of extortion. With her 80-year-old husband, Harry, who was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial on the same charges, Helmsley sits atop a $5 billion real estate and hotel empire, the crown jewel of which is the Helmsley Palace in New York, whose glossy advertisements still portray Leona Helmsley as the demanding queen who ensures that each room is immaculate. Harry Helmsley still could be tried on state charges of tax evasion, conspiracy and falsifying business records, along with his wife, if a state judge finds him competent to defend himself this fall. "The verdict ... sent a powerful message that big people and little people alike have a duty to pay their taxes. ... No one, regardless of how wealthy or how well-insulated by underlings, under the law is free to {flout} the tax laws," said U.S. Attorney Benito Romano. Feffer, who opened the trial by arguing that his client was guilty of nothing more than "being a tough bitch," had no comment. The two-month trial featured a long list of witnesses who said they had been cursed and dismissed by Helmsley, some of whom were granted immunity from prosecution. There was former housekeeper Elizabeth Baum, who said Helmsley had told her that "only the little people pay taxes." There was ex-aide John Struck, whom Helmsley fired in a dispute over the refinishing of eight cherry-wood doors leading to her mansion bedroom. There was former vice president William Piacitelli, who pleaded for his job during the Christmas season but was fired while Helmsley was being fitted by her private dressmaker. In perhaps the most startling testimony, Piacitelli and others said Helmsley had extorted free merchandise and cash in envelopes from hotel suppliers as a condition of doing business. Liquor distributor Lee West said he was forced to give Helmsley 40 percent of his sales commissions after Turco warned him that if he refused to pay, "we get somebody else to do the work." Clark said the jurors disagreed about such testimony and ultimately were guided by U.S. District Judge John Walker's definition of extortion. "There was a guy ready to eat Leona alive on Count 47 {the extortion charge}, but he had to give in," Clark said. Much of the case focused on Helmsley's $11 million Connecticut mansion, Dunnellen Hall, which prosecutor James DeVita described as her "Taj Mahal." Prosecutors presented evidence of an elaborate paperwork system, sometimes using the initials "D.H.," that Helmsley used to charge work on the mansion to her hotels and office buildings. Mansion expenses that were improperly billed included a $13,000 custom-made barbecue pit, a $57,000 stereo system modeled after one at Disney World, 10,000 evergreen plants and a $45,000 clock in the shape of the Helmsley Building, according to the prosecution. One witness said $10,000 worth of dresses for Helmsley were falsely billed as hotel "uniforms." Feffer tried to portray the case as nothing but a complicated tax dispute. He brought in consultants who argued that the Helmsleys, rather than evading $1.2 million in federal taxes, were owed a $681,000 refund for the three-year period covered by the indictment. Much of the government's case seemed designed to highlight the fact that "just because you're rich doesn't mean you're not cheap," as prosecutor Cathy Seibel put it in her closing argument. Accusing Helmsley of "greed, selfishness and sheer arrogance," Seibel said: "Cheating the government out of a million by putting herself above all those little people is certainly something she would have done." One witness said Helmsley began "ranting and raving" when presented with the $13,000 barbecue bill. Another witness said Helmsley shouted at her husband after receiving the pool-enclosure bill: "Can't you see they are trying to steal things from us? They are trying to rob us. We don't owe anything." "It is clear from the evidence," Feffer said in his summation, "that Mrs. Helmsley believes she was being ripped off, that she was absolutely paranoid that she was being overcharged. ... There's no question that Mrs. Helmsley was a very tough person to deal with." Although she has been labeled a "disgrace to humanity" by developer Donald Trump, and "the Wicked Witch of the West" by Mayor Edward Koch, Helmsley was once the toast of Park Avenue society. She gave "60 Minutes" a televised tour of Dunnellen Hall and invited hundreds of guests to her annual "I'm-Just-Wild-About-Harry" parties. A former Manhattan co-op broker who went to work for a Harry Helmsley company in the late 1960s, Leona Helmsley married the boss and moved into the penthouse duplex of the Park Lane Hotel. Special correspondent Laurie Goodstein contributed to this report.