Michelle Brunetti, Post of Atlantic City, October 7, 2019
Mayor Frank Gilliam’s guilty plea in federal court to wire fraud for stealing $87,000 from a youth basketball league makes him a felon and has swept him from office, like five other Atlantic City mayors since the 1970s.
But it also leaves many unanswered questions — such as how much time will Gilliam spend in jail? And what became of funds raised at Gilliam’s March 2018 inaugural gala that were supposed to go to the Atlantic City charity Connecting the Dots?
While the government never said it was investigating Gilliam’s involvement with the charity, some interviewed by federal investigators said they were asked about it. But it was not mentioned in the charges.
Gilliam, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court on Thursday. It was an admission of guilt made as a private citizen, not involving an official misconduct charge.
Gilliam’s attorney Harry Rimm negotiated the offense level down so low it carries an advisory guideline sentence of just 15-21 months in jail.
The offense level comes out of a complex mathematical formula, Hughes said, covering mitigating and aggravating factors, the amount of money involved; whether or not the person has accepted responsibility, pled guilty; and other factors.
Rimm also negotiated the right for Gilliam to move for a variance, meaning Gilliam can ask for a lesser sentence, Hughes said. He called Rimm’s performance masterful legal work.
In most cases in which the defendant is cooperating with the government in investigating others, there is no variance allowed, Hughes said, to keep leverage with the defendant.