Friday, March 07, 2008

Troha sentenced to six months probation

Kenosha businessman Dennis Troha was sentenced to six months probation today for a scheme in which he funneled money to family members for campaign donations to get around contribution limits as he tried to build support for a proposed Kenosha casino and affect trucking regulations.

"I want to accept full responsibilities for these actions," Troha said during the hearing, adding that he feels that he is getting what he deserves.

Troha had faced up to two years in prison and a $200,000 fine under a plea deal he reached last year, though prosecutors recommended a lighter sentence because he has cooperated with them. Troha was only ordered to pay a $100 assessment in addition to the probation.

U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller told Troha to take the money he could have been fined and invest it in the Kenosha community. He left the amount of the contribution up to Troha. His attorney Franklyn Gimbel told reporters that he expects by next week Troha will have done something for a "philanthropic enterprise."

Troha entered a guilty plea in federal court in July to two charges of conspiring to violate state and federal campaign laws for making illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic Party and President Bush. Two other Troha associates, Achille Infusino and John Erickson, have also pleaded guilty to related violations. Kenosha County Executive Allan Kehl also has been charged as part of the investigation.

Both U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic and Gimbel referenced how Troha had completely cooperated with authorities during the investigation, and that this was one reason for leniency. Biskupic said Troha deserved to be rewarded for those efforts.

"I think the judge put Dennis Troha's life in proper perspective," Gimbel told reporters afterward. He continued by saying that Troha's immediate concern was addressing his health problems. Troha was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Troha and Biskupic declined to comment after the verdict was read.

The former trucking executive, who had been instrumental in the efforts to land an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, pleaded guilty in June to two misdemeanor counts for exceeding campaign contribution limits. He had originally been charged with felony wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI.

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