Fmr. U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Sentenced to Prison

Former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday, one of the longest terms of incarceration ever imposed on a convicted member of Congress of federal corruption crimes.

Fattah was convicted of bribery, stealing campaign contributions, charitable donations and federal grant money to finance his personal lifestyle. reports the West Philadelphia Democrat expressed regret for some of the decisions he had made. He also expressed regret for how his conviction had affected his co-defendants and constituents, but stopped before fully acknowledging his guilt.

“The investigation and the trial has been the most disappointing event in my now 60-year-life,” Fattah told U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III. “I’ve helped tens of millions of people and that has nothing to do with the fact that I have been found on the wrong side of these questions by a jury.”

Bartle called Fattah’s crimes “astonishing” and “extremely serious” and ordered Fattah to report to begin serving his sentence Jan. 25.

“You abused the trust they placed in you time and time again,” he said of the voters who elected Fattah 11 times to represent them in Congress. “Your flagrant behavior undermines the confidence of the citizenry in all public institutions.”

In addition to his prison term, Fattah was ordered to serve three years federal probation upon his release and pay $600,000 in restitution to the federal agencies he defrauded.

His co-defendants were also order to pay restitution. Those co-defendants — a group of four friends and former staffers convicted of aiding Fattah in his crime — are scheduled to be sentenced this week.

“It was your job as a congressman to do good work,” he judge said. “This court must signal to the public that your crimes are unacceptable.”