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How crime pays

| Thursday, April 23, 2015, 8:55 p.m.

The Associated Press recently reported that former state Rep. Mike Veon could soon be released from prison. He was sentenced to six to 14 years in the Bonusgate scheme and would serve less than half of the lower end of the sentence guidelines.

This does not seem like justice or a real deterrent to political crimes that appear in the headlines on a weekly basis.

In 2013, Veon was to pay $219,000 in restitution and paid only $1,233. Did Veon cash out on a lump-sum pension before going to prison without the court seizing it for restitution?

Similarly, former state Rep. John Perzel was convicted of corruption, sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison and court-ordered to repay $1 million in restitution.

Perzel took his $203,000 pension that the court did not seize for restitution. Now released, he is sitting on this bankrolled pension and in his Philadelphia home that the court didn't seize for restitution.

State court documents show Perzel's pension was not seized and he has paid only $960 of the $1 million court-ordered restitution! They also show that his restitution payment is just $75 a month. This will take him 1,111 years to repay.

This illustrates that court orders are just for news-headline fluff and crime does pay.

Gary J. English

Penn Hills

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