PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The deputy speaker of the Rhode Island House was sentenced Friday to two years and three months in federal prison for tax fraud after admitting that he and a business partner attempted to cheat the federal government out of more than $500,000.
State Rep. John McCauley, a Democrat from Providence, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and tax fraud charges in September. He and business partner William L'Europa admitted that they filed false tax returns for their insurance adjusting business to underreport nearly $1.8 million in income.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary Lisi also sentenced McCauley to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine. He must also pay what he owes to the IRS.
L'Europa has also pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced on Jan. 30.
Federal prosecutors said McCauley inflated business expenses and took checks to a check-cashing business so the income wouldn’t appear on his business ledger. They had sought a sentence of 30 months, the maximum allowed under federal sentencing guidelines.
McCauley is to report to authorities on Jan. 15. The 54-year-old was first elected in 1990 and did not seek re-election this year. He now lives in Cranston. He sent a letter Friday to the Providence City Clerk and the Board of Canvassers formally resigning from his legislative seat.
‘‘I made a mistake,’’ he said when he entered his plea. ‘‘I am remorseful.’’
A message left for McCauley’s attorney was not immediately returned on Friday.
Four other state lawmakers have faced criminal charges in the past year.
Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, D-North Providence, was charged with driving under the influence in April, but the charge was dropped when Ruggerio admitted refusing an alcohol test and agreed to perform community service. His license was suspended for six months.
Rep. Robert Watson, R-East Greenwich, was arrested in Rhode Island in January on a charge of marijuana possession. The former House minority leader was also charged in 2011 with marijuana possession and driving under the influence in Connecticut. He pleaded no contest to the more recent charge and has pleaded not guilty to charges in the Connecticut case. He did not seek re-election.
Rep. Leo Medina, D-Providence, was arrested in October for allegedly practicing law without a license. It was the second time he’s been accused of the offense: he pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges and another allegation that he pocketed proceeds from a life insurance policy on a friend’s deceased daughter. He was defeated in this year’s Democratic primary.
In January, prosecutors dismissed a sexual assault case against Rep. John Carnevale, D-Providence, after the accuser died of medical causes. He had pleaded not guilty.