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One-time Rendell aide in campaign cash sting

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 29, 2016 4:34 PM

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(Harrisburg)_ A onetime chief of staff to former Gov. Ed Rendell is agreeing to plead guilty to wire fraud for pocketing thousands of dollars from a fake company set up by the FBI to investigate public corruption in Pennsylvania.

A federal plea deal filed Friday in Harrisburg calls for attorney John H. Estey to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud.

The crime occurred in 2011, several years after Estey had left the Rendell administration and while he was a lobbyist and consultant.

The government says he took $20,000 from a fake company called the Undercover Corp. to make campaign contributions to state lawmakers in a way that would hide the company's role in the donations.

State law bans campaign donations from corporations.

The government says Estey donated $7,000 and pocketed the rest.

Defense lawyer Ronald Levine says Estey is sorry for his actions.

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