Friday, December 23, 2011

Chicago Judge Gives Christmas Present To Tony Rezko

Apart from Tony Rezko's role as a political fixer for Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich, he was also engaged in defrauding his creditors for his business ventures. Rezko had already been sentenced to a term of 10 1/2 years for his role in Blagojevich's public corruption scandal for arranging for $9.6 million in illegal kickbacks for state contract awards, but he had been awaiting sentencing for defrauding GE Capital out of $2.5 million to obtain loans for his Papa John pizza restaurants in Illinois and Michigan. Judge James Zagel, the same judge who sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in prison, gave Rezko a 7 1/2-year prison sentence for defrauding GE Capital, but he is allowing him to serve his time for the unrelated crime concurrent with the sentence for his crimes against the Illinois taxpayers, which means he won't serve an extra day in jail for the unrelated crimes. From the Sun-Times:
U.S. District Judge James P. Zagel sentenced Rezko Thursday to 7½ years on charges he schemed to get a fraudulent loan to prop up his Papa John's Pizza franchises in Illinois and Michigan. That means every day Rezko spends in prison will count toward both sentences.
But Zagel agreed to make the sentence concurrent with a 10½-year prison term Rezko received last month for corrupting state boards and state government under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Rezko, who helped Obama out with the purchase of his southside mansion when he was still a U.S. senator,  has been shielded from public view since Obama became president and has not been called to testify at any of the subsequent trials, including the trial of Blagojevich despite his key co-conpirator role. The allegations that Rezko stuffed money into Obama's pockets are also apparently being swept under the rug by federal prosecutors in Chicago. Oddly, Rezko's former business partner, Daniel Frawley, just agreed to plead guilty to a crime for which the statute of limitations had already passed. Frawley reportedly was cooperating in the investigation of Rezko for the past five years by wearing a wire while having conversations with Rezko. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of just 18 months for Frawley's role in defrauding a bank out of $4.4 million. In a December 1, 2010 deposition, Frawley was questioned about his knowledge of payments made by Rezko to Obama. He declined to answer on the advice of his counsel. Frawley later sued his attorney for malpractice after he learned that he was also representing Tony Rezko. One of the businesses that Rezko and Frawley owned together received a $50 million contract from the Iraqi government to train security guards, a deal that eventually went south when things blew up in Chicago for Rezko. What Obama's role in helping the two land the Iraqi contract is also apparently under lock and seal, along with the alleged payments Rezko made to Obama.

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