By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At the sentencing hearing of Chaka Fattah Jr., prosecutors and the defendant had one more chance to ask a judge for either “substantial” prison time, or “leniency” after a jury convicted him last fall at his bank and tax fraud trial.

Fattah Jr., the son of the longtime congressman, is appealing.

Federal Judge Harvey Bartle looked at the 33-year-old defendant, who represented himself at trial, and said he “had more opportunities and advantages that most people only dream about,” yet he cheated the School District of Philadelphia, banks and the IRS.

Bartle then sentenced Fattah Jr. to five years in prison. Fattah Jr. made a motion to voluntarily surrender. The judge denied it, and ordered marshals to immediately take him into custody.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Gray asked the judge to sentence at the highest end of the guideline range, calling Fattah Jr. “a liar, schemer and fraudster who was obsessed with material possessions.”

“Serious crimes committed with a sense of arrogance. The jury’s verdict has done away with the charade that Mr. Fattah was a legitimate businessman.”

Fattah Jr. told the judge he always considered himself law abiding, adding “I didn’t know anything I did was a violation of the law.”

Outside the courthouse, his father, 11-term Congressman Chaka Fattah, who faces his own corruption trial in May, promises a vigorous appeal.

“We’ll have a chance to analyze appropriately whether this was a fair set of charges, and whether the investigation was handled properly.”

The judge also ordered Fattah Jr. to pay $1.1 million in restitution, most of which, $940,000, would be directed to the school district.

 

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