Ex-DC councilmember pleads guilty to theft

Court Watch Posted on

A former D.C. councilmember pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling more than $350,000 in government funds earmarked for youth sports and arts programs and admitted that he spent the money on a luxury SUV, travel to exclusive golf courses and clothing.

Harry Thomas Jr., resigned his council seat Thursday night — a condition of his plea agreement — just hours after being charged with theft from programs receiving federal funds and filing a false tax return.

The plea resolves one of several pending investigations into D.C. government, including a federal probe of the campaign of first-term Mayor Vincent Gray.

Thomas, who for months had maintained his innocence, did not directly address the accusations in federal court but replied, "Guilty as charged, your honor" when asked how he wished to plead. He later read a statement outside the courthouse apologizing to his family and his constituents.

The tax return charge accuses Thomas of failing to report about $350,000 in income between 2007 and 2009. He was also ordered to forfeit an SUV and a motorcycle that were seized last month by federal agents who raided his northeast Washington home.

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