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Archive for Saturday, February 11, 2006

STATE: Taff seeks to avoid prison time for fraud

U.S. attorney opposes lighter sentence for former congressional candidate

February 11, 2006

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— A two-time congressional candidate who has admitted using campaign funds to help him get a loan for a $1.2 million home has filed paperwork aimed at avoiding time in federal prison.

In a sentencing memorandum filed this week in federal court, Adam Taff asked for a one-year sentence to be split evenly between a halfway house and house arrest.

In a response filed Friday, the U.S. attorney's office said it opposes Taff's request.

"The court should send Mr. Taff to prison," U.S. Atty. Eric Melgren wrote, adding that the prison sentence should be between 15 and 21 months.

Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said the office would have no comment beyond the court filing.

Sentencing for Taff and co-defendant John D. Myers is scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.

The two pleaded guilty in November to one count each of wire fraud. Taff also pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Taff, a moderate Republican, narrowly lost the 2004 primary for the GOP nomination in the 3rd District to conservative Kris Kobach. Two years earlier, he was the Republican nominee, losing to Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore.

The case involves a suburban Kansas City home Myers sold to Taff for $1.2 million. At the time, Taff worked for National Mortgage Co. Inc. and Myers, who founded the company, was its chairman.

According to the indictment, Taff obtained a $300,000 bank check from campaign funds on Feb. 10, 2004, and he and Myers misrepresented the money as a down payment on the Lake Quivira house to help the candidate get a mortgage. Taff eventually returned the funds to his campaign.

"While Mr. Taff completely acknowledges his wrongful conduct : it is important to note that this is a fraud case that involves no actual or intended loss and a campaign conversion case where Mr. Taff returned the official check drawn from campaign accounts in less than one hour of having it drafted by the bank - an official check that was never negotiated," Taff's attorney, Jim Eisenbrandt, wrote in a memorandum filed Wednesday.

In his response, Melgren noted that although "there was no financial loss, there was a loss greater than mere money."

"Mr. Taff caused a loss of trust and faith in our system of representative government," Melgren wrote.

Melgren also noted that Taff and Myers never intended for Myers to receive the $300,000 and that Taff has not made any other payments to Myers. When the FBI came to Taff's door in June 2004, Taff still owed Myers $256,500 for the down payment, Melgren said, and only then did Taff sign a promissory note saying he would repay Myers.

"If the FBI had not learned of his fraudulent acts, he would have been secretly enriched in the value of $256,500 - simply because he was a congressional candidate with a wealthy benefactor."

In his memo, Eisenbrandt noted that Taff, a former Navy fighter pilot, already has faced serious consequences. Because Taff can no longer obtain the proper security and other clearances, his flying career for both the military and commercial airlines is essentially terminated. He also could lose his military pension.

Comments

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 10 months ago

So, one can avoid prison time if one is a a rich, god-fearing member of society?

Wait, I've answered my own question...

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

'"Mr. Taff caused a loss of trust and faith in our system of representative government," Melgren wrote.'

I'm not sure how that is seeing that the voters already made sure Mr. Taff was not in government.

While its hard to manufacture much sympathy, as Taff's attorney notes, Taff has lost already a considerable amount of financial benefits.

Taff's most serious crime was hubris - thinking that a public figure could engage in the shenangans he did without being detected. I suspect that he has been cured of that (both the hubris and being a public figure).

Jayhawk226 8 years, 10 months ago

So I assume we won't have to worry about Taff running for any future offices, eh?!!?

Phew.

The_Twelve 8 years, 10 months ago

I'll agree with yourworstnightmare-- those Conos (christians in name only) really show their true colors when the worst happens. Whatever happened to good ol' martyrdom for the faith?

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