Ex-Henon staffer pleads guilty to theft

Posted: January 16, 2014

SAYING THAT HIS theft of nearly $50,000 from City Councilman Bobby Henon's campaign fund was "egregious," ex-consultant Richard North III pleaded guilty yesterday.

North, 24, whose career was upended by a gambling addiction, pleaded guilty to one felony count and two misdemeanor counts of theft before Common Pleas Judge Donna Woelpper.

She sentenced North to three years of probation and ordered him to stay out of gambling establishments and pay restitution of more than $62,600 to Henon and to two roommates North stole from to feed his habit at the city's SugarHouse Casino.

Under terms of the plea deal, North will be allowed to serve his probation in Fulton County, Ga., where his family lives. Officials there will determine if he will have to report to a probation officer and if he will be tested for drugs and alcohol, said his attorney, Brian McMonagle.

He has already repaid his victims, the attorney said.

"My client developed a very horrible gambling addiction that brought him to this horrible point in his life. His heart is genuinely broken for the way he betrayed Councilman Henon's trust. He is ashamed," McMonagle said.

Lawyer Adam C. Bonin, who was in court on behalf of Henon, declined to comment.

Assistant District Attorney Marc Costanzo said North began stealing from the councilman in late 2012 and continued until spring 2013, using a campaign credit card and stealing checks meant for the campaign.

North, who cooperated in the investigation, will have the felony conviction on his record for life despite not serving jail time, Costanzo noted.

Son of a prominent Atlanta lawyer, North quickly read his apology statement to Henon - who was not in court - before formally pleading guilty.

"I have violated the trust of a good and decent man, and the people he serves. Councilman, I pray that you can find it in your heart to forgive me, as I will never be able to forgive myself," he said.

Henon is a Democrat who represents the 6th District, which includes Bridesburg, Port Richmond, Tacony, Frankford and Oxford Circle.

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