Judge gives Abramoff lobbyist 20 months in jail

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:15pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former lobbyist, the first person to plead guilty in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal that rocked the U.S. capital, was sentenced Friday to 20 months in prison, the Justice Department said.

A judge sentenced Michael Scanlon, a lobbying partner with Abramoff and a one-time aide to then-House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay, for his role in the scandal that contributed to Republicans losing control of Congress in 2006.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle also ordered Scanlon, 40, to pay $20 million in restitution to his victims, serve three years of probation after his prison term and put in 300 hours of community service, the department said.

Scanlon, the first target of the criminal investigation to cooperate with prosecutors, pleaded guilty in 2005 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and to defraud Native-American tribes of millions of dollars.

Scanlon admitted he and Abramoff conspired to defraud four Native American Indian tribes that operated or wanted to operate casinos. They agreed to charge fees that incorporated huge profit margins and then split the profits in a secret kick-back arrangement.

Scanlon could have faced up to four years in prison but prosecutors recommended two years because of his cooperation. Scanlon's attorneys said he should be spared from prison and get home confinement or time at a half-way house instead.

Scanlon was one of 20 people, including former Republican Representative Bob Ney of Ohio, lobbyists, federal government officials and congressional aides convicted in the scandal.

In the last remaining trial tied to the Abramoff scandal, Fraser Verrusio, a former House staff member, was convicted Thursday on corruption charges for accepting an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for the first game of the 2003 World Series.

One of the lobbyists who helped arrange the baseball game trip worked with Abramoff.

Soon after Scanlon's plea deal, Abramoff also decided to cooperate with investigators. He pleaded guilty in 2006 and was released from prison last year.

(Reporting by James Vicini; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (2)
mythenjoseph wrote:
Garbage..pure and unadulterated,these sentences are why the cycle of graft,lies,corruption and thievery will continue.The damage to population with certain laws that are crafted because of “illegal” lobbying is not taken seriously enough and is reflected in the mild sentencing given.Compare it to say an OUI say;The individual accused is most times blown out of the water financially with little chance of recovering monetarily and the sentences are based upon what could have potentially happened not what did occur such as the influence on laws that affect millions upon millions such as this with Abramoff.The participants in this should be stripped of all monies and properties because of the vast numbers affected by laws and policies that WERE influenced by the group who did this knowing that it was highly illegal.So to reitterate the cycle will continue to repeat itself until another scapegoat can be sacrificed….sad,very sad when courts dole out such mild punishment to criminals who are connected.

Feb 11, 2011 1:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
varela wrote:
“Soon after Scanlon’s plea deal, Abramoff also decided to cooperate with investigators. He pleaded guilty in 2006 and was released from prison last year.”

WOW, 3 years for corrupting our political system. I guess you got to give it to the republican’s… At least they are good at something.

Jack Abramoff and his associates
Randy “Duke” Cunningham
Ted Stevens
Tom Delay

Feb 11, 2011 3:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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