Dec 12 Former U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah,
who served in Congress for more than 20 years, was sentenced on
Monday to 10 years in federal prison for orchestrating a series
of frauds to enrich himself and boost his political career, U.S.
Fattah, 60, represented parts of Philadelphia from 1995
until resigning earlier this year after being convicted in June
on more than 20 counts of racketeering, bribery and fraud. He
had already lost the Democratic primary in April amid the
Fattah misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in
campaign, charity and taxpayer money in multiple unrelated
schemes stretching over several years, according to prosecutors.
Some of the frauds stemmed from his unsuccessful bid in 2007
to become Philadelphia's mayor, a campaign that left him deeply
in debt to several supporters.
He accepted an illegal secret loan of $1 million from Albert
Lord, a former chief executive officer of student loan servicer
SLM Corp, known as Sallie Mae, authorities said. He then
convinced Karen Nicholas, who oversaw his nonprofit educational
organization, to funnel charitable donations and federal grant
money to repay the loan.
Lord testified at trial under an immunity order and said he
never discussed the specifics of the loan with Fattah.
Fattah also encouraged consultant Thomas Lindenfeld to apply
for federal funds for a fake nonprofit in an effort to repay
Lindenfeld more than $100,000, prosecutors said.
In a third scheme, Fattah used another consultant, Gregory
Naylor, to transfer campaign money to pay off his son's student
debt. The son, Chaka Fattah Jr., was convicted in an unrelated
federal fraud case and sentenced to five years in prison.
Fattah also accepted bribes from a close friend, retired
businessman Herb Vederman, in exchange for making a personal
appeal to President Barack Obama to appoint Vederman to a U.S.
ambassadorship, prosecutors said.
Nicholas, Vederman and two other Fattah associates,
consultant Robert Brand and campaign treasurer Bonnie Bowser,
were convicted at trial alongside Fattah. Vederman is set to be
sentenced later on Monday, while the others are scheduled for
sentencing on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lindenfeld and Naylor pleaded guilty and testified against
Fattah at trial.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)