The former mayor of Cohoes, New York, was sentenced to probation after a conviction in a wire fraud case, avoiding prison time in the matter. The former mayor was accused of taking campaign contributions for personal use, and he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in order to resolve the case. A federal judge sentenced him to 200 hours of community service and a $3,000 fine in addition to two years of probation.
The man admitted to using over $12,000 in contributions to his political campaign to pay for a variety of personal expenses, including bills for hotels and restaurants. He received these contributions from at least 10 donors but specified one $500 contribution in his agreement to plead guilty to wire fraud. He said that he used the money to fund his home improvement bills at the time. He could have faced prison time, but his attorney argued for a lighter penalty, citing his client’s record of community service before entering public office. He previously served as a member of the fire department for 26 years and represented the area in the state legislature, and he took on charity projects like distributing toys to needy families on Christmas Eve.
The federal prosecutor requested that the former mayor be given prison time, arguing that it would send a strong message against betraying the public trust. The prosecutor argued that the misuse of funds was also a blow to supporters of the former mayor, who had given the money in order to advance his political aspirations but saw it instead spent on personal expenses.
People who are accused of white-collar crimes may face serious penalties, including a felony criminal record, jail time and hefty fines. A criminal defense attorney may help people to present a strong defense and aim to avoid a conviction.