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Abramoff Sentenced to Five Years in Fraud Case

Former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff arrives for his sentence hearing at the Miami Federal Court house in Miami, Fla., on Wednesday.
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Former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff arrives for his sentence hearing at the Miami Federal Court house in Miami, Fla., on Wednesday.
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MIAMI (AP) -- Disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a former business partner were sentenced Wednesday to five years and 10 months in prison for fraud related to their 2000 purchase of the SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet.

The sentences were the minimum under their plea agreement in the case.

Abramoff and Adam Kidan, who both pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud, won't start their sentences immediately so they can continue cooperating in a Washington corruption investigation and a Florida probe into the murder of former SunCruz owner Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.

In court, Abramoff said the case was "incredibly painful" for himself, his family and his friends.

"In the past few years I have begun the process of becoming a new man," he said.

Abramoff had arrived at the courthouse several hours early, avoiding the media before his sentencing. Under the plea agreement, both faced a sentence of between five years, 10 months, and seven years, three months in federal prison.

Both were also ordered to pay restitution of more than $21 million.

The two admitted concocting a fake $23 million wire transfer to make it appear they had made a large cash contribution to the $147.5 million purchase of SunCruz Casinos. Based on that fake transfer, lenders provided the pair with $60 million in financing.

The same week Abramoff pleaded guilty to the SunCruz fraud, he entered guilty pleas to three federal charges as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe that could involve up to 20 members of Congress and aides, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. No date has been set for his sentencing in that case.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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