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3rd Circuit Dismisses Chaka Fattah Jr.'s Appeal

By Peter Clarke, JD on June 05, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Chaka Fattah Jr. just wanted to start an education company. Now he's facing a slew of legal issues, including a 23-count indictment.

Fattah Jr., son of the Pennsylvania congressman, has been the center of attention in Philadelphia since 2012 concerning alleged tax fraud and misuse of bank loans. He faces up to $13 million in fines from the IRS. The ongoing legal dispute took a bad turn for Fattah on June 1st when the Third Circuit dismissed his appeal.

How Bad Does It Look for Chaka Fattah Jr.?

Pretty bad. The government has collected evidence that Fattah allegedly created several business lines of credit through local banks. Instead of using these funds for his education company, he amassed gambling debts and used the money for jewelry, car payments, and other personal expenses.

The government has made a strong case out of his situation. Some of the 23-counts against Fattah include:

  • Bank fraud
  • False statement to obtain loans
  • Filing false federal income tax returns
  • Failing to pay federal income tax
  • Theft from a program receiving federal funds
  • Four counts of wire fraud

Still, Fattah maintains that the government's case is political. On this point, it is true that his father, Rep. Fattah, is also implicated in serious trouble involving investment corruption. Whether or not this amounts to making Fattah the younger "collateral damage" -- as he claims -- is up for the court to decide.

Why Is Fattah Representing Himself?

Frankly, he says doesn't have enough money to hire a lawyer. He's hopeful that a lawyer may take his case on a contingency basis given that he believes that there is merit to his defense. In the meantime, he's out on a $50,000 bail and he doesn't have the resources to afford representation.

Prior to the latest dismissal of his appeal, Fattah has apparently done an impressive job representing himself. According to, Fattah Jr. had spent months flooding the court "with dozens of motions" in the hope of that this tactic might "defang the case against him." So far, no luck.

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