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Abramoff Lobbyist Crony Gets Prison for Fraud and Bribery

(CN) - Michael Scanlon, a business partner of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in defrauding Native American tribes, the Justice Department said Friday.

Scanlon worked with Abramoff in Washington, D.C., in 2000 and 2001, according to federal court filings. He pled guilty in 2005 to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail and wire fraud, and honest services fraud.

Four Native American tribes in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Michigan hired Abramoff for advice on how to limit competition at their casinos. After building up a trusting relationship with the tribes, Abramoff referred them to Scanlon's company Capital Campaign Strategies for public relations advice.

In the scheme investigators referred to as "Gimme Five," Abramoff and Scanlon then charged fees that incorporated huge profit margins and split the profits in a secret kickback arrangement.

Scanlon's company made $39.5 million, and he kicked back $20 million to Abramoff, according to the plea agreement.

Scanlon also admitted to bribing Congressman Robert Ney with campaign contributions, golf trips to Scotland and expensive meals in exchange for passing legislation related to Abramoff's scheme.

In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle ordered Scanlon to pay $20 million in restitution to his victims and to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, as well as to perform 300 hours of community service.

To date, 20 different people have either pleaded guilty or been convicted for their connection to the Abramoff scheme, Justice Department officials said.

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