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If you were one of the good-hearted schlubs who voluntarily paid more on your District income taxes in order to help at-risk kids avoid drugs, well, you just got punked!
Judge John Bates has just ruled that convicted felon Harry Thomas Jr. will not have to repay the full $110,000 he steered from Public Fund for Drug Prevention and Children at Risk to pay for an inaugural party at the Wilson Building. Instead, Thomas will only have to pay the $7,500 that he actually received himself from the fund.
Bates ruled that Thomas should have to pay the lower amount because that’s what he agreed to pay as part of his plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The U.S. Probation Office as well as Attorney General Irv Nathan argued for the higher amount (though for some reason they argued for $100,000, not $110,000) as a way to make the District whole.
In total, Thomas pleaded guilty to stealing $353,500. Take away the $70,000 he—or someone on his behalf—has already repaid, and Thomas’ court-ordered restitution comes to $283,500.
Whether the city ever gets that amount is in serious doubt. Thomas is already $30,000 behind on a December payment he agreed to pay as part of a civil suit. His next payment, for $50,000, is due at the end of next month, when Thomas will likely getting used to life as a federal prisoner. Still, Nathan said in a statement today that while he’s disappointed with Bates’ ruling, the attorney general’s office “will be vigilant in ensuring that the restitution order is satisfied when Mr. Thomas’s circumstances allow.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery