|Final figure in Ohio corruption probe gets six years|
|Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH, Associated Press|
|Saturday, 21 December 2013 07:50|
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The final figure in a long-running corruption probe in the state's largest county has been sentenced to prison time, federal authorities said Friday.
Former Cuyahoga County employee and Parma School Board member J. Kevin Kelley, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay more than $700,000 for his involvement in several bribery schemes.
Kelley, 44, is the last of more than 60 indicted people to be sentenced in the investigation surrounding bribes paid to elected county officials in return for contracts, federal authorities said.
The investigation — which included the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. attorney's office and other agencies — led to county government reforms approved by voters.
Authorities said Kelley was paid for what was billed as consulting services and then used a portion of the money to buy first-class airfare to Las Vegas and other perks for county officials including a commissioner and an auditor now serving prison time.
Kelley pleaded guilty to multiple counts of Hobbs Act conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and making false tax returns.
Kelley previously pleaded guilty to several bribery schemes involving Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and others.
Russo pleaded guilty to charges including bribery, obstruction and tax fraud and was sentenced to nearly 22 years in federal prison. He was the star witness at the corruption trial of Dimora, a longtime political ally, who pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to 28 years.
According to court documents, on several occasions Kelley also steered county contracts and Parma schools contracts to companies that paid bribes to him or his friends and associates. Tax returns filed for 2003 through 2007 failed to disclose nearly $190,000 in income, court documents show.
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