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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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