Judge makes Fumo freer to travel

Vincent J. Fumo has completed paying his fines and restitution, according to his lawyer. His home confinement ended in February.
Vincent J. Fumo has completed paying his fines and restitution, according to his lawyer. His home confinement ended in February. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 11, 2014

Former Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, on probation for his corruption conviction, can travel a bit more freely under a ruling issued Wednesday by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter dropped the standard requirement that Fumo obtain advance approval from his probation officer before each long-distance trip. But he said Fumo would have to file an itinerary each Monday with the probation office listing all of his planned trips for the week ahead.

Fumo had asked Buckwalter, who presided over the trial in which a jury found him guilty of all 137 counts in a sweeping indictment against him, to let him travel without any advance approvals.

His lawyer, Dennis J. Cogan, said Fumo's net worth had fallen by millions since his 2009 conviction and that he needs to travel to drum up business as a consultant.

A week ago, Cogan noted in a letter to Buckwalter that Fumo has made the last of his required payments in fines, fees, and restitution.

In all, Fumo, 71, has paid about $4.4 million to make good the victims of his crimes, including the Senate, a South Philadelphia civic nonprofit, and the Independence Seaport Museum.

He was convicted of taking goods and services from the Senate and the nonprofit, and for taking yacht vacations for free on boats owned or leased by the museum, of which he was a board member.

Fumo, who was sentenced to 61 months in prison, was released late last year to home confinement, which ended in February of this year.

U.S. Attorney Robert A. Zauzmer, a key member of the team that built the case against Fumo, had asked Buckwalter to leave Fumo's travel conditions unchanged.

Under the rules, Fumo has always been able to travel without restriction in Philadelphia and the other eight Pennsylvania counties that make up the federal court's Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The district does not include New Jersey or Dauphin County, home to Harrisburg. Fumo has an interest in a Shore home and gave his fiancee a farm near Harrisburg.

Buckwalter said Fumo could seek a further relaxation of the travel rules in December.

The former state senator, for decades the most powerful Democrat from Philadelphia in the General Assembly, will be on probation until 2017.


cmccoy@phillynews.com

215-854-4821 @CraigRMcCoy

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