Former Pa. Rep. Mike Veon released from prison after 5 years
A once-powerful state legislator who was convicted in Pennsylvania's “Bonusgate” scandal is out of prison after serving five years, his attorney said Thursday.
“I can't tell you how happy I am that this part of the nightmare is over,” said Joel Sansone, attorney for former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon.
“We expect to have more to say soon,” Sansone said.
State Corrections Department spokeswoman Sue McNaughton said Veon, 58, formerly of Beaver Falls, was released on parole Thursday morning from Somerset County's minimum-security State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands.
A Dauphin County judge sentenced Veon to serve six to 14 years in prison in 2010 for directing a program that rewarded legislative staffers who campaigned for Democrats with $1.4 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses.
Nearly two years later, a different Dauphin County judge sentenced Veon to one to four years more for misusing grant money awarded to the Beaver Initiative for Growth, a nonprofit he co-founded.
Veon received the harshest sentence among 22 lawmakers and aides who pleaded guilty or were convicted in a state attorney general's office investigation of corruption in the state House.
Veon received early release for good behavior while in prison, with an assessment indicating he was “of low risk to the community” and accepting responsibility for the crimes committed, Board of Probation and Parole records show.
Among the conditions of his release, Veon will remain on parole for up to nine years. He will live in a private residence with his wife in the Pittsburgh area, Sansone said, declining to be more specific.
Veon will be required to maintain a job or, if he's unemployed, actively search for one. He isn't allowed to associate with “co-defendants, gang members or Brett Cott,” Veon's former legislative analyst who was convicted of illegally working on at least 20 campaigns on Veon's behalf.
Cott could not be reached.
Veon served in the state House for 22 years, rising to become Democratic whip, one of the highest-ranking positions in the caucus.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this report.