Ex-federal agent gets jail for theft

Posted: August 04, 2001

A former second-in-command of the Secret Service's Philadelphia office was sentenced yesterday to 33 months in prison for stealing $2,800 from the agency and bullying two novice agents he supervised into helping him hide the theft.

Weeping, Michael Cohen apologized to the Secret Service and his family and begged U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller not to send him to prison.

But citing the Secret Service's special responsibilities, including protecting the president, Schiller said: "People look up to Secret Service people. . . . Somebody in this position of trust just can't afford to jeopardize his status."

The judge also fined Cohen $6,000 but let him remain free on $50,000 bail while he appeals.

Cohen, of Columbus, Ohio, and formerly of Boothwyn, is the son of a Secret Service agent wounded in the line of duty. In his 13 years with the agency, Cohen, 38, developed a reputation as a rising star, and his posting from Kansas City, Mo., to assistant to the special agent in charge here in June 1999 was considered the first in a potential series of promotions.

His new job had a salary of $93,000, but Cohen testified at his trial in May that his new house here had cost more than he expected, and that he had been $3,000 short at closing.

Cohen admitted stealing $2,800 in evidence seized in two criminal probes but called the thefts, in late 1999 and early last year, a "mistake."

Joseph A. Slobodzian's e-mail address is jslobodzian@phillynews.com.

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