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Vincent Fumo Gets 6 More Months, Prosecutors Get A Tongue-Lashing

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

A federal judge added 6 months to disgraced politician Vincent Fumo’s sentence today, increasing the former Pennsylvania state senator’s total sentence to 61 months. The judge also ordered Fumo to pay an additional $1.1 million in restitution, in addition to the $2.8 million he has already paid.

A unanimous jury convicted Fumo in 2009 of conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice, and tax violations for using state employees and consultants for political and personal purposes. In the process, Fumo defrauded the state and two non-profit groups of $3.5 million. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter ordered Fumo to serve only 55 months.

Prosecutors won a resentencing challenge in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in August, when the appellate court ruled that Judge Buckwalter erred by not offering an explanation of the process he used to determine the light sentence. Prosecutors had pushed for the 15-year minimum sentence under the sentencing guidelines.

Today, Judge Buckwalter again refused to slap Fumo with the sentencing guidelines minimum, and criticized the prosecutors for over-charging Fumo. Buckwalter said the former senator had "engaged in four main schemes: defrauding the state Senate and two nonprofits, and obstructing justice," but prosecutors won convictions on 137 counts, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Judge Buckwalter told prosecutors that the sentencing guidelines recommendation was inappropriate in Fumo's case because it was based on the dollar amount involved in the fraud, rather than the nature of the crime. The judge said that he found Fumo's case comparable to other political corruption cases across the country where defendants got about four to seven years for their crimes, reports The Washington Post.

Do you think that Judge Buckwalter's sentencing explanation was sufficient to avoid further intervention from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals?

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