Monday, May 7, 2012

Former District of Columbia Council Member Harry Thomas, Jr. Sentenced to 38 Months in Prison for Theft, Tax Charges in Scheme Involving Government Funds


WASHINGTON—Harry L. Thomas, Jr., a former member of the Council of the District of Columbia, was sentenced today to 38 months in prison on federal theft and tax charges stemming from a scheme in which he used more than $350,000 in taxpayers’ money that was earmarked for the arts, youth recreation, and summer programs for his own personal benefit, including to pay for vehicles, clothing, and trips.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Ronald T. Hosko, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division; and Eric Hylton, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

Thomas, 51, pled guilty on January 6, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a criminal information charging him with one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of filing a false tax return. As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to submit his resignation from the District of Columbia Council. Thomas is the first sitting member of the D.C. Council to be charged with and convicted of a felony.

At sentencing, the Honorable John D. Bates said that Thomas’s crimes were a “betrayal of the public trust” and directly affected programs meant to help needy, underprivileged youths.

Thomas will be required to make restitution in an amount to be set later by Judge Bates. In addition, he must forfeit a 2008 Victory motorcycle and 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe truck, both of which are traceable to proceeds of his crimes. Thomas also must pay all outstanding taxes, interest, and penalties. Finally, upon completion of his prison term, Thomas will be placed on three years of supervised release.

According to a statement of offense signed by the government as well as the defendant, Thomas arranged to steer a total $353,500 from a non-profit public-private partnership that received funding from the District government. Thomas directed the money to two entities that he controlled, and he then used it for his own purposes.

Among other things, money that was meant to benefit the District’s residents was spent by Thomas to purchase a $69,149 Audi luxury sport utility vehicle, the $23,245 Victory motorcycle, expensive clothing, restaurant meals, and luxury vacations. Thomas also used the money to cover his expenses in helping to arrange entertainment for a 2009 inaugural ball.

The case remains under investigation. Two others also pled guilty to charges in January 2012 and are awaiting sentencing.

Report IRS Tax Fraud by Calling 1-888-482-6825 or by visiting

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