I’ve been following the corruption case in the city next to where I live. Links to earlier discussions are at end of this post.
The mayor was accused of accepting bribes from a local business in return for helping them get back in business. In April 2012, he pled guilty to one count of bribery. The remaining 9 charges were dropped at the sentencing.
Yesterday he was sentenced to two years in federal prison.
The sentencing is reported in the Daily Bulletin’s article, Ex-Upland Mayor Pomierski sentenced to two years in prison for bribery.
At the sentencing, he read a letter which included the following comment:
“The last two years have been difficult. I lost my wife, lost my friends, lost work and the job I loved the most, being mayor of Upland,” Pomierski said. “I was dead wrong. I know I will pay for it. I already have paid for it in the last two years in some way, shape or form.”
The tragedy of fraud
Before you say that a two-year sentence is light, keep in mind that trials are risky. For the mayor, there is a chance he could have been convicted on all 10 counts and faced an extremely long sentence. For the prosecutor it is the same. Their case could have fall apart. A negotiated two-year sentences a good settlement on both sides.
Let’s look at some of the other penalties. I will take his comment in court at face value because I know nothing more about his situation than what I’ve read in the newspaper.
Here’s a list of the wages of his scheme:
- Two years in prison. 730 days and nights.
- His wife left him.
- Many of his friends have abandoned him.
- He lost his construction company, which was the source of his income.
- He has filed for personal bankruptcy.
- He lost his job as mayor.
- He is a convicted felon, a status that will never go away.
- His friends, family, and everyone who knows him now knows he has confessed to accepting a bribe.
- The tale of his felonious behavior will be visible on the ‘net for decades to come.
- His grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren who decide to research their ancestry will get to read all about this incident.
- When released from jail he will never get a job that requires any licensing. He will never work in construction or public service again.
- He will be 60 years old when released from prison. It’s likely his only retirement income will be Social Security, which is a severe change from what he was expecting just three years ago.
- His future standard of living will be a small fraction of what it’s been the last several decades.
That is a serious amount of consequences. I don’t go through that list because I’m sorry for him. He deserves it all.
I go through that list of consequences because I wish fraudsters were somehow able to ponder the severity of consequences before they engage in their shenanigans.
I’ve previously discussed this incident, primarily from the perspective of an auditor:
- How could an auditor pick up any red flags to this corruption case? Background
- How could an auditor pick up any red flags to this corruption case? What could have been seen?
- How could an auditor pick up any red flags to this corruption case? Let’s change the circumstances
- So an auditor couldn’t pick up any red flags to a corruption case. Why is that a problem?
- Guilty plea in corruption trial mentioned a year ago
- Q: Why are corruption and bribery frauds so difficult to discover?
Full disclosure: I am a casual acquaintance of the new, current mayor of Upland. I have no information or knowledge of this case other than what I’ve read in public sources.
Update 8-27-12: One of the secondary players has been sentenced after pleading guilty to two charges: conspiracy to commit bribery and making false statements. Of note is that lying to the feds during an investigation will likely get you a felony charge. See the Daily Bulletin article Hennes sentenced to six months prison, six months house arrest.