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Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff reported to prison Wednesday in Cumberland, Md., to begin serving a sentence of almost six years for defrauding banks of $23 million when buying a Florida casino cruise line in 2000. Abramoff also faces jail time after pleading guilty in Washington for fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Justice Department lawyers have put off Abramoff’s sentencing related to those charges, citing his cooperation with the department’s ongoing corruption probe. He is expected to be sentenced in that case next year. Although Abramoff was originally supposed to report to prison in Pennsylvania, the Justice Department intervened in late October, suggesting the Federal Correctional Institute in Cumberland as its preferred choice. Located in western Maryland, the medium-security facility is within driving distance of Washington, allowing federal prosecutors easy access to Abramoff. Abramoff was sentenced in March by U.S. District Judge Paul Huck in the Southern District of Florida after pleading guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and mail fraud. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. Abramoff’s lawyers, from Chadbourne & Parke, declined to comment Wednesday. Abramoff, formerly a top lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig’s D.C. office, is at the center of a lobbying scandal that has already ensnared six other lobbyists and government officials, including former Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), who pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges in September. Four of the six have pleaded guilty to bribery charges: Abramoff business partner Michael Scanlon, a former staffer to then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas); Neil Volz, former chief of staff to Ney; Abramoff’s Florida business associate Adam Kidan; and former Alexander Strategy lobbyist Tony Rudy. David Safavian, former chief procurement officer for the Office of Management and Budget, was convicted in June of making false statements and obstructing justice in connection with his work with Abramoff. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison last month. Abramoff, former Greenberg Traurig lobbyists Jon Van Horne and Neil Volz, and former head of the Christian Coalition Ralph Reed Jr. still face a suit in Texas brought by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas in July for allegedly defrauding the tribe, which had hired Abramoff to assist in keeping its gaming operation open.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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