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Ex-staffer sentenced in Abramoff scandal

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The ex-chief of staff of former Rep. Rob Ney, R-Ohio, was sentenced Wednesday to two years' probation in connection with the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Neil G. Volz, who was also fined $2,000, pleaded guilty in May to a charge of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and violating a one-year ban on lobbying, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release. Volz, who worked for Ney for eight years, was a lobbyist for Abramoff from February 2002 until mid-2004.

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Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle agreed to the government's motion of a lighter sentence for Volz in exchange for his help in the investigation and conviction of Ney, is serving a 30-month prison term. Ney admitted he accepted lavish gifts and trips from Abramoff, who was said to be cooperating with federal investigators while he serves a prison term on corruption charges.

Volz also assisted in the investigation and trial that subsequently led to the conviction of former General Services Administration Chief of Staff David Safavian.

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