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Courts and Crime

Frank Russo facing jail
Final sentencing could come today

Mark Urycki
In The Region:

The man at the top of the pyramid in the Cuyahoga County corruption scandal may get his final sentence in federal court tomorrow (Thurs) in Akron.  Former county Auditor Frank Russo was arrested 2 1/2 years ago and pleaded guilty but has yet to serve a day  in prison.   WKSU’s Mark Urycki reports his freedom may come to end soon.

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Frank Russo said he took a deal to cooperate with prosecutors so they would drop charges against his son, Vince. But the deal also kept him out of prison for more than two years.

In October 2010, the former auditor admitted to 21 counts of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison. The government considered Russo and former Commissioner Jimmy Dimora to be the top two bad guys in the scandal that netted dozens.

While Dimora took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and favors from multiple contractors hoping to do business with the county, Russo took 10 thousand dollars a month for 10 years from just one company.   He also routinely sold county jobs by putting people on the payroll in return for cash. And he admitted he influenced five judges in Cuyahoga County. 

Russo has been free so that he could testify against others in the scandal,  most notably his friend and fellow Democrat, Dimora.  Dimora was convicted in March and is already serving his  28 years in prison.

In return for his cooperation, Judge Sara Lioi is likely to knock Russo’s sentence down to about 18 years, but it may not happen today. Russo’s attorney has argued for a hearing first so he can bring up new information that might keep his client out of jail for a little while longer.  

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