And so it ends, the last of the people indicted in the County Corruption investigation, J. Kevin Kelley, is off to prison after living nearly five-and-a-half years on borrowed time.
J. Kevin Kelley, a former employee of the County Engineer's Office, went before Judge Sarah Lioi in an Akron Federal Courtroom.
Security was tight, a back entrance guarded and police dogs out front. Kelley arrived early, at 9 a.m. to avoid reporters.
His sentence of six years came after both his lawyer and notably the government's praised his cooperation. He was also ordered to pay $705,634 for his involvement in several bribery schemes: $527,773 to Cuyahoga County, $90,755 to Parma Schools and $ 87,106 to the IRS.
He led investigators to 36 schemes that they previously knew nothing about. He listened to hour upon hour of secret recordings explaining the meaning to agents, spent a week in a warehouse going through documents and wore a wire to trap others of his corrupt pals.
Kelley obviously knew where all the bodies were buried. It earned him a six level reduction in his sentence, a fact that lowered his potential 15 to nearly 20 year sentence to 1/3 of that.
Kelley's crimes were serious, his lawyer told the court that he began to change his life through redemption immediately with his cooperation. Kelley described the county government corruption he witnessed by saying he fell into it because "that's the way things are done here".
While the judge told him he walked hand-in-hand with the corrupt politicians and that his only guide was greed she said she had to balance his reprehensible behavior with the cooperation prosecutors called outstanding.
More than 60 people have been convicted in the county corruption investigation.
All that remains is a sentencing hearing for former County Auditor Frank Russo. He is serving a 22-year prison term, but is expected to ask the judge for a reduction in that term based on his cooperation with investigators and his testimony against Dimora.
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