The boyfriend of the woman dubbed the "cell phone bandit" was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for his role in four bank robberies last year.

Dave C. Williams, of Fairfax, appeared in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, where he apologized profusely for helping Candice R. Martinez rob four Wachovia Bank branches from Oct. 12 to Nov. 4.

He urged Judge Gerald Bruce Lee to give him thousands of hours of community service, instead of sentencing him behind bars. But the judge refused, and also ordered Williams to pay thousands of dollars in restitution.

Both Williams and Martinez pleaded guilty to conspiracy and weapons charges in December. Martinez, a community college student from Santa Fe, N.M., faces sentencing next Friday.

In each of the four robberies, Martinez would enter the banks while chatting on a cellular telephone with Williams. Police publicized a video surveillance tape of one of the robberies in an effort to get tips on her identity.

Williams has admitted being on the phone with Martinez and driving the getaway car.