Former Ohio House Speaker sentenced to 20 years in prison for leading racketeering conspiracy involving $60 million in bribes
CINCINNATI – Former Ohio Republican Party chair Mathew Borges, 51, of Bexley, Ohio, was sentenced in federal court today to 60 months in prison for participating in a racketeering conspiracy.
A jury found Borges and former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, 63, of Glenford, Ohio, guilty of violating the racketeering statute. The verdict was announced on March 8 following a six-week trial.
The government proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that Borges conspired with others to violate the racketeering statute in a conspiracy involving nearly $61 million in bribes paid to a 501(c)(4) entity to pass and uphold House Bill 6, a billion-dollar nuclear plant bailout.
“Borges willingly joined the criminal enterprise knowing its members were involved in a bribery conspiracy. He personally sought out, solicited, and bribed an individual for insider information,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “Borges has been involved in politics and worked with public officials for more than 20 years. He knew exactly where the lines were when he decided to cross them and participate in a criminal enterprise. Today’s sentence holds him accountable for that illegal conduct.”
Borges’ primary role in the enterprise was to deprive Ohioans of the opportunity to overturn what Borges knew was corrupt legislation. He was budgeted $25,000, which he laundered through his own bank accounts, to bribe a political operative for secret, real-time information.
The defendant created a new entity – 17 Consulting Group LLC – and agreed to funnel $1.62 million to 17 Consulting that had already been laundered through Householder’s 501(c)(4), Generation Now.
Borges gave the operative a $15,000 check in exchange for information on the number of signatures collected on the anti-House Bill 6 ballot referendum. Borges paid himself $360,000 of the laundered money.
Campaign and political strategist, Jeffrey Longstreth, and lobbyist Juan Cespedes, both of Columbus, Ohio, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy. They await sentencing. FirstEnergy Corp. signed a deferred prosecution settlement in July 2021, agreeing to pay a $230 million penalty for conspiring to bribe public officials and others.
Householder was sentenced in U.S. District Court yesterday to 240 months in prison. Both he and Borges have been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence imposed today by Senior U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black. Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter and Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew C. Singer, Megan Gaffney Painter and Timothy S. Mangan represented the United States in this case.
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