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Posted at 5:10 PM ET, 11/23/2010

Former Va. finance secretary gets 10 years for fraud

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

A federal judge sentenced former Virginia secretary of Finance John W. Forbes II to 10 years in prison Tuesday for defrauding the Virginia tobacco commission of $4 million.

Forbes had pleaded guilty to the charges, acknowledging that while serving as a Cabinet secretary to former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) in 2001, he encouraged the tobacco commission to award a $5 million grant to a nonprofit he controlled. Instead of using the money to help revitalize southwest Virginia, Forbes diverted most of it to his personal use.

Forbes's attorney argued that he is remorseful and should receive a sentence of no more than five years in prison. But Judge Henry Hudson said Forbes had betrayed the trust of citizens and the governor who appointed him and accepted a prosecutor's recommendation that he be sentenced at the high end of sentencing guidelines.

Forbes, 54, served as Virginia's top budgeting officer for the final seven months of Gilmore's term, which concluded in 2002.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 23, 2010; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  James Gilmore III, Rosalind Helderman  
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