Abramoff: Put on Budget by Judge

August 11, 2009


District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled in an 11:00 hearing today in the U.S. District Court of Washington, DC how Jack Abramoff can spend the remainder of his $520,189 tax refund. She also suggested that his wife Pam sell their million dollar home in Maryland.

In May 2009 when prosecutors learned that Abramoff and his wife received the huge tax refund they asked the judge to order Abramoff to pay back Indian tribes, not his bills.

The AP reported:
About $175,000 is left, and U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle said he can use $50,000 to pay back taxes to the state of Maryland, $22,000 to pay property taxes and $5,000 to pay Hebrew school tuition for his 16-year-old twins. She ordered Abramoff's attorneys to submit a plan for spending the rest of it, with a significant amount going to the victims of his crime.
Huvelle also said Abramoff needs to get her approval before spending any other money that comes to him through tax refunds, inheritance or any other windfall. She also suggested that Abramoff's wife sell their million-dollar home, since she makes around $40,000 as an executive assistant and that's not enough to cover a $2,500-per-month mortgage and other expenses.
I will post a link to the order later when it comes online.

Here is some background from a previous post I wrote in May 2009.

According to a May 2009 issue of the Washington Post:
Under the restitution order by U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle, Abramoff and former associate Michael Scanlon still owe more than $23 million to the tribes. Abramoff was not expected to be able to make payments until after he got out of prison, the government said. However, "Mr. Abramoff was required by statute to apply the value of that refund to his restitution obligation, notwithstanding that the money was received while he was in prison and before the payment schedule had taken effect," the Justice Department filing said.

Abramoff admitted that he and Scanlon, a onetime press aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), ran a kickback scheme that defrauded the tribes. Abramoff told tribes to hire Scanlon's public relations firm at inflated prices and the two split the profits. Huvelle sentenced Abramoff last year to four years in prison for fraud and influence-peddling. He had already been serving a term of five years on a related conviction in 2006.

Scanlon also has pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced.
(links added)

The DOJ filed a Motion For Immediate Modification of Restitution Order to prevent the former CNMI lobbyist from spending any more large amounts of money until he pays back the Indian Tribes. From the motion:
Yesterday, the government learned that Mr. Abramoff received a substantial refund from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), a large portion of which he and his spouse spent before informing the government of its receipt. For the reasons set forth below, we ask the Court to immediately modify Mr. Abramoff’s restitution order to (1) order Mr. Abramoff and his family to cease spending whatever remains from the IRS refund; (2) require Mr. Abramoff to provide an accounting of the payments he has made; (3) modify the current restitution order to require Mr. Abramoff to provide immediate notice to the Court of any additional assets or debts he or his immediate family receives or incurs which are valued at $2,500 or more; (4) require Mr. Abramoff to obtain Court approval prior to he or his immediate family spending sums of $2,500 or more.
The motion stated that Mr. Abramoff owed $23,134,695.00, a portion of which he owed jointly with fellow lobbyist Michael Scanlon. The original restitution order stated that Mr. Abramoff must start paying the tribes back after his release from prison, and he had to notify the government within 30 days of "material changes in economic circumstances."

From the motion:
On May 20, 2009, counsel for Mr. Abramoff advised the government that Mr. Abramoff and Mrs. Abramoff had received a refund from the IRS totaling $520,189. Based on what we learned from defense counsel on May 20, it appears that the following occurred. Around May 4, 2009, Mr. Abramoff’s wife received the refund check from the IRS. They advise us that, during the ensuing two weeks, Mrs. Abramoff allegedly paid the following non-restitution creditors:
• $104,000 toward accounting expenses owed to Mendelson & Mendelson (Mr. Abramoff’s accounting firm);
• $87,500 to repay loans from Mr. Abramoff’s father;
• $75,000 toward legal expenses owed to McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP;
• $50,000 toward back taxes owed to the State of Maryland;
• $47,000 toward a credit card balance held by Bank of America;
• $25,000 toward legal expenses owed to Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP;
• $22,000 toward property taxes;
• $5,000 to repay a loan from Michael Herson;
• $5,000 toward tuition expenses at Hebrew Academy; and
• $1,500 to repay a loan from the Franco Foundation.
The government attorneys said. "The restitution order is treated as a tax lien in favor of the United States on all property and rights to property of Mr. Abramoff." They asked the court to:
(1) order Mr. Abramoff and his family to cease spending whatever remains from the IRS refund; (2) require Mr. Abramoff to provide an accounting documenting the nature of the debts paid above, including when they were incurred; (3) modify the current restitution order to require Mr. Abramoff to provide immediate notice to the Court of any additional assets or obligations he or his immediate family receives or incurs which are valued at $2,500 or more; (4) require Mr. Abramoff to obtain Court approval prior to he or his immediate family spending sums of $2,500 or more.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone need a million dollar house? Maybe not, but should a judge be dictating what personal property to sell?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone need a million dollar house? Maybe not, but should a judge be dictating what personal property to sell?