Seven months after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion, former Congressmember Michael Grimm learned his fate – eight months in prison.
Grimm – who got considerably less than the sentence prescribed by federal sentencing guidelines, 18 to 24 months — was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen, who told him, “Your moral compass, Mr. Grimm, needs some reorientation.”
Chen – who also sentenced Grimm to a year’s probation and 200 hours of community service –wasn’t buying Grimm’s argument that the crime he had committed was a common one. “That this type of crime is common does not lessen its significance,” she said, stressing of the former Marine and former FBI agent, “He of all people knew better.”
Before his guilty plea, Grimm — who represented Staten Island and portions of Brooklyn from 2011 until early January, 2015, and had just won reelection to a third term — faced a 20-count federal indictment—including multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, perjury, one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, one count of impeding the Internal Revenue Service, one count of health care fraud, one count of engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employ unauthorized aliens, and one count of obstructing an official proceeding. All the charges arose out of a business Grimm owned before being elected to Congress called Healthalicious, a small fast food eatery in Manhattan. He was also charged with under-reporting income at the restaurant by over $1 million, and paying employees hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages “off the books.”
Grimm’s lawyers had asked the court to go easy on him, and spare him jail time; prosecutors, on the other hand, had requested a 30-month sentence.
Grimm apologized in court for his transgression, saying that he had, “made bad decisions that I’ll regret for the rest of my life,” because he feared failing.
“Give me the opportunity to redeem myself,” Grimm pleaded prior to his sentence being handed down.
Grimm is scheduled to begin serving his sentence on September 10.