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Michael Gabor sentenced to 10 years in prison

3:54 PM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON --  A federal judge has sentenced Michael Gabor to 10 years plus 1 month in prison for his conviction on charges related to the ongoing Cuyahoga County corruption investigation.

A jury convicted Gabor back on March 9 on 7 of 8 charges, including conspiracy, bribery and racketeering.

On the same day, the same jury convicted Gabor's co-defendant former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora on 37 of 38 counts. Dimora was given a 28-year sentence but is appealing.

Gabor's attorney Leif Christman said after the sentencing that they would be appealing Gabor's sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette Bacon said the government wanted Gabor to serve 15 years and Christman had asked for a sentence of 24 months.

He said Gabor had been swept up under the shadow of Dimora from the beginning. Gabor worked for then-Auditor Frank Russo from Sept. 5, 2005 until he was indicted and dismissed on Nov. 18, 2010.

Gabor also served as the driver for Dimora to work, events and restaurants.

The prosecution and Russo said Gabor paid Russo $5,000 for his job in the weights and measures division of the auditor's office. Prosecution witnesses said that Gabor also paid $10,000 to the judge handling his divorce case to rule in his favor.

Christman said Gabor and his wife had filed for divorce three times but stopped the proceedings each time. Christman said "(Gabor) doesn't concede that he gave Frank Russo $5,000 for a job."

In her letter of support for her husband, Dina Gabor described him as "awesome."

Bacon said Gabor "...helped rig an election...he helped fix a court case...he bought his own job...and then when the FBI was on to him, he helped to try and cover it up."  

Gabor has remained in custody since his conviction at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown.

The sentencing came just before 2 p.m. after a hearing that lasted several hours.

Dina Gabor and his mother, Agnes, 87, were both in court Tuesday with about 11 friends and family.

In his statement right before Lioi pronounced her sentence, Christman said Gabor "didn't enrich himself on any of those schemes....and you don't see Michael Gabor in the same ilk as (Russo and Dimora)...as a schemer."

Bacon countered with the statement that "He wasn't just a bagman." 

They had nothing to say to the media as they left the courthouse, arms linked together to ward off reporters. 

Gabor, 53, of Parma, looked considerably thinner when he arrived at court. Christman, confirmed to WKYC that, when Gabor entered federal custody on March 9, he "weighed 230 pounds and now he weighs 195 pounds."

Christman said Gabor has remained considerably "upbeat" while in custody.

During the hearing, attorneys from both sides argued back and forth over how much the thousands and thousands of dollars involved in bribery schemes could be used to determine Gabor's involvement and how much could be used to calculate his sentence.

Gabor had already agreed to forfeit his Ohio Public Employees Retirement System account, in the amount of $27,815.

Gabor did not have anything else to forfeit as he and his wife and son, Michael Jr, 24, live at his mother's house in Parma and he has no savings account.

His son did not attend the sentencing hearing because he was taking his exams for nursing school. 

The government agreed not to pursue any further forfeiture from Gabor's wife.

Gabor faced up to 20 years in prison.

WKYC-TV

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