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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Won’t Nix Count Against Politician’s Son

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A U.S. congressman's son facing fraud charges in Pennsylvania cannot dismiss one of the 23 counts against him, a federal judge ruled.

Chaka Fattah Jr., 32, is the son of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat who represents most of Philadelphia.

Three weeks after the July 29, 2014, indictment of Fattah Jr., accusing him of defrauding banks, the Internal Revenue Service and the School District of Philadelphia, federal prosecutors nabbed a guilty plea from the congressman's longtime aide, Gregory Naylor, to concealing the misuse of $622,000 in campaign contributions and federal grant funds.

Fattah Jr. sought to a count of the indictment that charged him with failing to disclose $6,092 in income on his 2009 personal tax return, in which he reported an adjusted gross income of $39,519 from his consulting and concierge businesses.

Fattah Jr. argued that the allegedly $6,092 represents business income for which there is no line on the tax form, and that submitting the wrong form does not amount to the filing of a false tax return.

In rejecting that argument Wednesday, however, U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle pointed to the declaration on Fattah's tax form in which he confirmed that the listed income "accurately lists all amounts and sources of income I received during the tax year."

The indictment's simple allegation that Fattah did not accurately list his income is enough to sustain it through this early stage of litigation, the ruling states.

Prosecutors say Fattah routinely underreported his income on tax returns between 2005 and 2010, by as much as $50,000 per year. They also claim he overcharged clients such as the contractors to the School District of Philadelphia, inflating salaries and expenses.

Alleging that Fattah Jr. has tens of thousands of dollars in debt, the indictment says he used one $50,000 loan to pay down $15,000 on credit cards and $33,000 in gambling debt.

Rep. Fattah meanwhile won re-election to his seat by a landslide on Nov. 4.

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