Aide gets probation in $49,000 campaign theft

Posted: January 16, 2014

PHILADELPHIA Richard North came to Philadelphia from Georgia to begin a career as a political consultant.

He left Tuesday, with a gambling addiction and on probation after pleading guilty to stealing about $49,000 from the campaign committee of Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon. He gambled away the money at SugarHouse Casino.

North, 24, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and was immediately sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Donna Woelpper under his plea deal with the prosecutor's office.

North read an apology to Henon - who was not in court - saying: "The crimes I committed against you were both egregious and undeserving."

North said Henon and his staff "gave me every opportunity to succeed. I feel so blessed for the opportunities you gave me, yet so ashamed for the way in which I violated your trust."

Defense attorney Brian J. McMonagle said that after arriving in Philadelphia, North began gambling and quickly developed an addiction "that led him to this dark point in his life."

Henon, a Democrat whose Sixth District covers the lower Northeast along the Delaware River, issued a statement saying he was "gravely disappointed that Mr. North betrayed my trust. However, I am grateful that he has accepted full responsibility for his actions and will continue to seek treatment for the addiction issues that led to this behavior."

Assistant District Attorney E. Marc Costanzo, chief of Special Investigations, said North arrived in Philadelphia from Atlanta in 2011, and joined the "Bobby 11" campaign committee after the general election.

North's Facebook page says he graduated from Southern Methodist University. His father, Richard B. North Jr., is a prominent Atlanta lawyer.

North has returned to live with his parents in Atlanta. In addition to three years' probation, North has paid about $62,000 restitution - the stolen amount plus fees involved in investigating the case - to Henon's campaign committee.

The sentence also requires North to undergo treatment for gambling addiction, a drug and alcohol evaluation, and bans him from entering gambling facilities.

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

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