Abramoff probe nets ex-Labor employee

April 7, 2010 at 5:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Department of Labor staffer pleaded guilty to not reporting gifts received from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the Justice Department said.

Horace M. Cooper of Lorton, Va., pleaded guilty Wednesday to falsely certifying his 2003 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report, the department said in a release.

Court documents indicate Cooper, 44, as chief of staff for the department's Employment Standards Administration in 2003, admitted asking for and accepted gifts from Abramoff and Neil Volz, two former lobbyists. Cooper admitted he concealed the gifts from department ethics officials and his supervisors.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, officials said. Sentencing is scheduled for July 1, 2010.

So far, 19 individuals, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty, been convicted or are awaiting trial in the investigation into the activities of Abramoff and his associates, the Justice Department said.

Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services fraud and tax evasion. He was sentenced in September 2008 to 48 months in prison.

Neil Volz pleaded guilty in May 2006 to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and was sentenced in September 2007 to two years probation.

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