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Dimora trial: Other politicians who have fallen

5:48 PM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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AKRON -- An array of politicians across the country have been found guilty of charges similar to those Jimmy Dimora faces. 

One of the crimes with which Dimora is charged in a number of the counts in his federal indictment is Honest Services Mail Fraud. It basically means a public official was paid in some way for a particular decision or action.

Five counts in the 148-page federal indictment against Dimora charge him with Honest Services Mail Fraud.

Dimora, 56, of Independence, is not the first county commissioner to be tried on similar charges.

Read all the charges

In 2009, Mary McCarty, a county commissioner in Palm Beach County, Florida, was convicted of honest services fraud and sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison. Among other benefits, McCarty, like Dimora, received free hotel stays.

The Palm Beach County corruption case netted several other politicians, including two former county commissioners there. Both are serving prison terms after being convicted of the same charge Dimora faces.

An Alabama state legislator was convicted in 2009 of fraud involving a program receiving federal funds. She received a 30-month prison sentence. Dimora is charged in Counts 4, 5, 6, 17, 18, and 19 with the same crime.

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman was convicted in 2007 of honest services fraud, conspiracy, and bribery. He was sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

Ohio Congressman Bob Ney pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and was convicted in 2006. Ney was sentenced to 30 months in prison, but was released after 17.

Dimora is also accused of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the RICO racketeering charge, which is Count 1 in his indictment. 

Co-defendant Michael Gabor, 52, of Parma, is also named in the RICO count and would face the same potential prison time.

RICO has been used by the federal government since 1980 when Frank Tieri, head of the Genovese crime family, was convicted. In 2006, members of the Gambino crime family were convicted of violating the RICO statute and were sentenced to life in prison.

It was unusual to try individuals without direct connections to organized crime for RICO crimes until 1989, when the so-called "Junk Bond King" Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts. He pleaded guilty to six lesser charges rather than face the prospect of life in prison.

Milken agreed to testify against others in the investigation and his original sentence of ten years in prison was reduced. He served a little less than 2 years, but was ordered to pay $600 million in fines and restitution.

A number of those convicted in the Cuyahoga County corruption investgation made plea deals with federal prosecutors in hopes of getting their sentences reduced in exchange for testifying against Dimora and Gabor.

Most notable among them is former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo, who was originally sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. It is not known how much his sentence will be reduced, if at all, in exchange for his two days of testimony against Dimora.


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