Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah convicted of racketeering, fraud, money laundering

PHILADELPHIA, June 21 (UPI) — The senior member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation was convicted Tuesday on numerous criminal counts related to corruption, stemming from an indictment last year that also ensnared several of his political allies.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat, was found guilty Tuesday on all federal counts — including conspiracy to commit racketeering, wire fraud, mail fraud, falsifying records, bribery, bank fraud, money laundering and making false statements to financial institutions.

ARCHIVEJuly 2015: Rep. Chaka Fattah allegedly misused campaign, taxpayer funds

The jury delivered its verdict following a month-long trial in which prosecutors said the congressman repeatedly bribed others and stole campaign contributions, charitable donations and federal grant money.

The U.S. Justice Department outlined widespread corruption in its prosecution of Fattah, who has represented Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District since 1994.

Last summer, a grand jury indicted Fattah and accused him of participating in various schemes to enrich himself.

Four others, political and business allies, were also indicted. They are Bonnie Bowser, 59, Fattah’s chief of staff; lobbyist Herbert Vederman, 69; consultant Robert Brand, 69; and Karen Nicholas, 57, the chief executive of a nonprofit educational alliance founded by Fattah.

ARCHIVEAugust 2014: Son of Philadelphia congressman charged with bank fraud

Fattah, 59, now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison. He will be sentenced Oct. 4.

The Philadelphia native will also lose his seat in Congress.

Fattah was beaten in the state’s Democratic primary in April, before his corruption trial began, denying him a chance for a 12th term in office.

Before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Fattah served in the Pennsylvania House and Senate for 12 years.

In 2014, the congressman’s son, Chaka Fattah, Jr., was indicted and arrested for defrauding Philadelphia banks and the IRS to cover gambling debts and other personal expenses. He was convicted and sentenced in February to five years in prison. He is appealing the conviction.

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