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7th Circuit upholds embezzlement convictions against ex-mayor

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed ex-East Chicago Mayor George Pabey’s convictions of embezzling government funds and conspiring to embezzle and found the District Court didn’t err when it sentenced him to 60 months in prison.

Pabey – along with East Chicago’s head of the Engineering Department, Jose Camacho – was convicted in September 2010 on the two embezzling counts. Pabey and Camacho used government funds and government employees to renovate a house Pabey and his wife, Hilda, purchased in Gary, Ind., in October 2007. Pabey claimed that he had no idea about the scheme to use city funds and employees. The District Court gave the jury a conscious avoidance instruction – also known as an ostrich instruction – that Pabey’s knowledge of the scheme can be inferred if they find he deliberately avoided the knowledge necessary for his conviction.

Pabey was convicted and sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $70,000 in fines and restitution, which was above the United States Sentencing Guidelines. His sentence was also enhanced for obstruction of justice, for his leadership role in the offense, and for abuse of a position of trust.

Pabey challenged the jury instruction, but the 7th Circuit found the District Court did not abuse its discretion by giving it. In this case, the government presented both types of evidence – committing overt physical acts to avoid the knowledge and purely psychological avoidance – to show that if Pabey was unaware of the embezzlement scheme, then he deliberately avoided such knowledge.

The appellate court also found each of the sentencing enhancements were appropriate. Regarding the increased sentence, the District Court provided adequate support for its upward departure based on the 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a) factors, and further supported its departure using the United States Sentencing Guidelines recommendations, wrote Judge Joel Flaum in United States of America v. George Pabey, No. 11-2046.

 

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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