Former Charlotte Mayor Guilty Plea to One Charge of Wire Fraud, Sentenced to Federal Prison

Former Charlotte, NC Mayor Sentenced to Federal Prison for Pleading Guilty to One Charge of Wire Fraud

one charge of wire fraudIn June, former Charlotte, NC mayor Patrick Cannon pleaded guilty to one charge of wire fraud, which stemmed from numerous bribery, extortion, and other federal charges that cropped up during his tenure as mayor. On Tuesday, October 14th, Cannon was sentenced to 44 months in federal prison.

Cannon was also sentenced to 2 years of supervised release, and a $10,000 fine. Federal prosecutors wanted Cannon in jail for 37 months, or just over 3 years, for the one charge of wire fraud plea; his defense requested only 18 months, because his jail time would impact his children’s lives.

“Much has been given to me in the way of the public’s trust. I regret having acted in ways that broke that trust. For that, I am deeply sorry. I love Charlotte,” Cannon said at his sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

“[Charlotte] is the city of my birth. I regret having hurt the city that I love,” Cannon said. He added, “Today, I have acknowledged being guilty of accepting moneys for constituent services. Something that should have never been done while serving in elected office … I understand the anger and the frustration that my actions have caused. I can only hope that the life that I live from now on will reflect both my remorse and my desire to still make a positive impact upon the city.”

“We are looking forward to closure. We are looking forward to continuing to do the work of the city. The new mayor has jumped right in and is keeping us on task,” said City Councilman Kenny Smith, a Republican from District 6.

Cannon’s meteoric political career began when he was elected to city council in 1993, at the age of 26, just two years out of college. He served on the City Council until 2005, spent four years out of office in private business, then returned to City Council in 2009. He served on both the city council and as mayor pro tem from 2010 to 2013, when he was officially elected mayor.

The FBI began investigating allegations of bribery and extortion in 2010. Reportedly, undercover agents offered bribes to Cannon so they would not “have issues or concerns with city and county officials” over zoning, construction permitting and alcohol regulation. Over the course of the investigation, FBI agents documented five separate occasions in which Cannon allegedly took cash, plane tickets, hotel rooms, and a luxury apartment as bribes from the agents, including a trip to Las Vegas in July 2013, with all expenses paid and $6,000 in cash to spend. The gifts and cash totaled more than $48,000.

In February, Cannon allegedly accepted a leather briefcase with $20,000 cash as a bribe in the mayor’s office, and reportedly angled for a 1% kickback on the alleged $125 million in investments in the city. In exchange for the bribery and extortion, Cannon promised the undercover agents he would develop streetcar lines near their property to aid their business. He was arrested in March during an undercover operation. Although he faced numerous federal charges, however, Cannon only pleaded guilty to one charge of wire fraud.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Wire Fraud and Other Federal Charges

The law broadly defines wire fraud as devising or intending to devise a scheme to defraud others of money or property under false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises by means of electronic communications, or “wires.” Because they typically involve interstate matters, most wire fraud cases are considered federal crimes with convictions carrying heavy fines, prison sentences of up to 20 years, or both.

The Strom Law Firm, LLC has the experience that you need to defend your wire fraud charges, or other federal charges. Our experience and familiarity with prosecutorial techniques provide the basis for experienced and effective legal representation. We will fight hard to have your charges reduced, or even dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case as well the most effective way to proceed with your case. 803.252.4800

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