Former Cincinnati City Council president pleads guilty to charge of honest services wire fraud through bribery
CINCINNATI – Former Cincinnati City Council president pro tem Tamaya Dennard, 40, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to accepting $15,000 in bribe money she sought and accepted as payment in exchange for her vote on a proposal before Council.
“Dennard pleaded guilty to one count of honest services wire fraud,” said David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “She sought to deprive the citizens of Cincinnati of their rights to honest services by an elected official in order to enrich herself through corruption.”
“It is completely unacceptable for an elected official to solicit money in exchange for official actions,” stated Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman. “Today’s plea should serve as a reminder that the FBI considers public corruption to be a top priority and we will continue to vigorously investigate fraud and abuse in order to hold public officials accountable.”
Court documents filed with her plea say that in August 2019, Dennard contacted someone she knew who had business before the Cincinnati City Council and sought money, including by sending the individual a text message saying “If you are willing to meet with me, I’m sure that I will be able to help you.” Dennard received $10,000 on September 9, 2019 and $5,000 in cash about two weeks later in exchange for promising to provide and providing favorable official action. Her plea includes a $15,000 money judgment against her.
By law, honest services wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The court will determine an appropriate sentence based on several factors including federal sentencing guidelines and her acceptance of responsibility. No sentencing date has been set.
David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; announced the plea entered before U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott. Deputy Criminal Chief Emily N. Glatfelter and Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Singer are representing the United States in this case.
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