Plea Deal Nears in Tax Office Scandal; Gandhi Reacts
Post staffer Del Quentin Wilber is reporting today that Harriette Walters, the alleged mastermind of the $50 million tax office embezzlement scandal, appears to have worked out a plea deal with federal prosecutors that could be finalized tomorrow.
Wilber writes: Federal prosecutors filed a document in court today known as a "criminal information," which outlined the charges facing Walters and the case against her. That type of document can be filed only with the consent of the defendant, and only after the defendant has waived his or her right to have the case reviewed by a grand jury. It typically signals that a plea agreement has been struck. The document also refers to a plea agreement when discussing property that Walters would have to forfeit as part of a negotiated deal.
In a statement, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi said: "This is a major milestone in this difficult and sad experience for the District." It is my hope that Ms. Walters, and all of her co-conspirators will, receive the severest penalties available and that those sentences will serve as a warning to anyone who is even contemplating defrauding the city. And, the investigation should not end until that last possible dollar is recovered from the wrongdoers."
Since the scandal, Gandhi has sought to restore confidence in his office. He has hired several high-ranking deputies, including tax director Stephen Cordi and internal investigations chief Robert Andary. New controls were established that require higher-level signoffs before property tax refund checks are sent to businesses.
But other promised reforms have moved slowly. Gandhi established an audit committee chaired by D.C. lawyer Sheldon Cohen, but that group has yet to file a report. A D.C. Council investigation that is being conducted by the law firm Wilmer Hale also has not wrapped up.
David A Nakamura
September 15, 2008; 2:37 PM ET
Categories: City Finances
Save & Share: Previous: Quick Poll: The 'Carol Contingency'
Next: Poll: 69 Percent of Americans Oppose Congress's D.C. Gun Bill
Posted by: Sigh | September 15, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Black and Bitter Like Coffee | September 15, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: White and Sweet Like Cream | September 15, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Annie Laurie | September 15, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | September 16, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Disgruntled DC Government Employee | September 16, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Susanna | September 16, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous for fear of retaliation | September 16, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Big Jim | September 16, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Yoga Bear | September 17, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Renee | September 21, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Renee | September 21, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.