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Court: Damiani widow fulfills $3.4 million forfeiture in county corruption case

6:34 PM, Aug 11, 2010   |    comments
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On Dec. 8, 2009, March 2, 2010, and May 17, 2010, respectively, Teresa Damiani voluntarily turned over the following properties to the United States: (1) a quit-claim deed for a condominium unit located on West Gulf Drive in Sanibel, Florida; (2) an official bank check in the amount of $39,062.79; and, (3) an official bank check in the amount of $1,057,000.

The United States filed the civil forfeiture action against the properties on May 27, 2010.

The forfeiture complaint alleged that the properties are forfeitable to the United States as a result of Louis Damiani's participation in a conspiracy to bribe Public Official 2 in connection with contracts to perform commercial real estate appraisals for the Cuyahoga County Auditor's Office.

Public Official 2, mentioned in dozens of documents and plea agreements in the two-year, on-going probe into county corruption, has been widely acknowledged to be Cuyahoga County Recorder Frank Russo.

Russo has never been identified by name and maintains his innocence.

Louis Damiani died in September, 2006. A sale of the condominium closed on July 21, 2010, and the net proceeds realized from the sale ($370,331.42) were delivered by the closing agent to the United States.

It is the intent of the United States to return the forfeited properties to Cuyahoga County.

This civil forfeiture action was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney James L. Morford.

The related criminal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ann C. Rowland, Antoinette T. Bacon, Robert J. Patton, and Nancy L. Kelley.

The investigation was conducted by the Cleveland office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.

The Cuyahoga County corruption investigation is ongoing.

WKYC-TV

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