Former Lorain Community Development Director Sandy Prudoff’s attorney has asked a federal judge to let his client serve his prison sentence at Federal Correctional Facility McKean in Bradford, Pa., so he can participate in a substance abuse program there.
Prudoff is due to be sentenced today on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, making false statements to law enforcement and three counts of making false statements on income tax returns. The charges stem from consulting work federal authorities contend he was paid for but never did for a Cleveland halfway house at the center of the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation.
His plea deal with prosecutors, reached in June, calls for him to spend two years behind bars.
In a sentencing memorandum filed this week, defense attorney John Ricotta wrote that Prudoff has denied that he has a drinking problem, but his son and longtime girlfriend, Margaret Wells, disagree.
“Both individuals have expressed concern about Mr. Prudoff’s drinking, which has recently escalated and led to mood swings and having bouts of depression,” Ricotta wrote. “As a result of Mr. Prudoff’s drinking, Ms. Wells has recently moved out.”
The McKean federal prison is a medium-security facility, although it also has a satellite camp for minimum-security convicts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ website. Under the terms of his plea bargain, Prudoff would report to prison on Sept. 30.
Ricotta urged U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi to adhere to the deal struck between Prudoff and federal prosecutors, which, in addition to the prison term, contains provisions that would require the former city official to pay restitution of $144,000.
Prudoff has a $15,000 check ready to begin paying off that amount and would make monthly restitution payments of $500 while incarcerated, Ricotta wrote. When he is released, those payments would increase to $700 per month.
Prudoff also owes taxes and penalties totaling roughly $118,000 on unreported income and has reached a separate deal with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to pay that off, the memorandum said.
Prudoff, a controversial figure who spent decades running Lorain’s Community Development Department, was placed on leave by the city in September 2009 after city officials learned he was a target in the federal corruption probe. He formally retired a few weeks later.
But Prudoff’s departure didn’t end the federal investigation, and the city has spent the past three years complying with subpoenas and information requests from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. No other city officials have been charged in connection with the investigation, although Anthony Calabrese III, an attorney who once did work for the city, was indicted along with Prudoff and is still awaiting trial.
The plea deal between Prudoff and federal prosecutors doesn’t preclude him from facing state charges.
The federal charges deal specifically with the work Prudoff purportedly did for Alternatives Agency Inc., which has since changed its name. He was one of several consultants to face such charges.
Court documents filed in the case indicate Prudoff was supposed to be looking for a location for the halfway house to expand in Lorain County, but never actually did the work. He also lied to the FBI during an August 2009 interview in which he claimed to have done site selection reviews, according to the documents.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.