Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff will report Nov. 15 to a federal prison in Cumberland, Md., to serve a 70-month sentence for fraud and conspiracy charges in connection with the purchase of Florida-based SunCruz Casinos.
U.S. District Judge Paul Huck granted a request by prosecutors and Abramoff’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, that Abramoff serve his time at the Cumberland facility because it is within driving distance of Washington. They said in a court filing that Abramoff was cooperating in the Justice Department’s Washington influence peddling investigation and would continue to assist prosecutors while in prison.
The Cumberland facility, about a two-hour drive from Washington, “will facilitate the government’s access” to Abramoff, according to court papers. The government said the proximity to Washington would help prosecutors reduce costs and travel time.
If the Cumberland prison is full, Huck recommended that Abramoff be housed at the federal corrections facility in Morgantown, W.Va., which “is also within driving distance of Washington, D.C.”
Abramoff and his partner, Adam Kidan, pleaded guilty in January to defrauding lenders of more than $60 million in the SunCruz gambling casino scandal in Florida.
Abramoff is scheduled to appear at a court hearing Dec. 8 in Washington regarding his guilty pleas in January to charges of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio.
Ney pleaded guilty last week to two counts of conspiring to commit fraud and to making false statements. He is expected to serve 27 months based on a Justice Department recommendation.
Ney is the only member of Congress to be charged in the Abramoff lobbying scandal. He has vowed to resign from Congress in the “next few weeks,” but as of now he remains in the House.