Associated Press, June 21, 2016
A veteran Pennsylvania congressman was convicted Tuesday in a racketeering case that largely centered on various efforts to repay an illegal $1 million campaign loan related to his unsuccessful 2007 mayoral bid.
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was found guilty of all counts against him, including racketeering, fraud and money laundering. His lawyers had argued that the schemes were engineered without Fattah’s knowledge by two political consultants who pleaded guilty in the case.
The 59-year-old Democrat had been in Congress since 1995 and served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. But he lost the April primary and his bid for his 12th term. His current term ends Jan. 2.
He will remain free on bail. A judge set sentencing for Oct. 4.
Prosecutors said Fattah routed federal grant money and nonprofit funds through his consultants to pay back the illegal loan.
In a related case, his son, Chaka “Chip” Fattah Jr., was convicted on charges of bank and tax fraud and sentenced in February to five years in prison. A jury found he took part in a scheme as a subcontractor to defraud the Philadelphia school district.
Justice Department lawyer Jonathan Kravis said in his closing argument that Chaka Fattah Sr. used federal grants and nonprofit funds to enrich his family and friends.
Fattah stepped down as the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice and science when he was indicted in July 2015.