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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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