Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Businessman who did work for Traficant sentenced

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - A businessman convicted of doing free work for a former congressman in exchange for political favors was sentenced Monday to two years in prison. Bernard "Pete" Bucheit, 71, of Youngstown and West Palm Beach, Fla., faced a maximum of 12 years in prison.

He was convicted in April of bribing former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. by having a deck and an addition built on the congressman's farmhouse in return for help in obtaining payments for construction projects in the Middle East.

U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells also ordered Bucheit to pay a $5,000 fine and court costs.

Traficant, a Youngstown Democrat, is serving eight years in prison for bribery and racketeering. He was expelled from Congress last July. Bucheit was the third Traficant associate sentenced.

J.J. Cafaro, part-owner of U.S. Aerospace Group, a now-defunct company that was marketing a laser-guidance system, received a reduced sentence in November because he helped the government prosecute Traficant. He was sentenced to 15 months probation for giving Traficant cash and gifts in exchange for assistance in getting his system certified.

David Sugar, owner of Honey Creek Contracting, was sentenced to one month in prison and six months of home confinement for covering up free work he did for Traficant.

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