Ex-Congressman Begins Serving Sentence for Public Corruption
On Wednesday, January 27, 2017, Chaka Fattah, the ex U.S. Congressman from Philadelphia, began serving a 10-year prison term at the federal prison in Lewis Run, Pennsylvania, for crimes related to public corruption that include racketeering, bribery, money laundering, and fraud.
Indicted in 2015, Fattah, 59, ran for re-election in 2016. He lost his primary bid under a cloud of scandal but resisted pressure to resign even as federal criminal charges proceeded. He was convicted in June 2016 on all 29 counts against him. Under the rules of the House of Representatives, the convictions did not compel Fattah to give up his seat, but he was barred from voting or participating in committee work.
According to the Reading Eagle, last December, “U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III imposed …the second longest [sentence] ever received by a member of Congress, and condemned him for abusing ‘the trust voters placed in (him) time and time again.’” Still, Judge Bartle’s sentencing is lenient when we consider that many of the crimes for which Fattah was convicted – conspiracy, falsification of records, and mail fraud – carry sentences of 20 years each.
Although Fattah’s corruption seems to have been beyond the pale, many government officials can find themselves drawn into anticorruption proceedings for pursuing the goals of their constituents. For example, last year the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the public corruption conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell. An official facing investigation for corruption should consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer as early in the process as possible.
If you fear charges of white collar crime or corruption, it is important to work with an attorney who has experience with these specific types of cases. To protect your rights, meet with skilled Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman today.