PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A federal jury that heard tax-fraud charges against Chakka "Chip" Fattah - son of the indicted U.S. congressman whose name he shares - returned a guilty verdict Thursday.
Convicted on 22 of 23 counts, jurors found that Fattah Jr. lied to banks to receive loans, defrauded the School District of Philadelphia of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and ran a phony consulting firm to cover gambling debts and feed other expensive tastes.
Proceeding without an attorney at the trial, Fattah Jr. tried to portray himself as a legitimate member of the city's political community.
He called in both former Mayor John Street and former Gov. Ed Rendell to testify that he had taken pictures for both of them while trying to start up a small photography practice.
The government focused on Fattah Jr.'s ostentatious lifestyle and his gambling debts that reached into the tens of thousands of dollars. At one point, government cross-examination dissected the costs of lamb chops and sea bass at an expensive buffet during a party he hosted.
Through his consulting company, Fattah Jr. drew $450,000 from beleaguered Philadelphia schools at a time the district was closing dozens of sites and laying off thousands of teachers.
Fattah Jr.'s verdict comes while his father, a Pennsylvania Democrat, awaits trial on charges of using campaign money for noncampaign purposes, including paying off his son's student loans.
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