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Former Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer Gets 8 Year Prison Sentence

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Former Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer was sentenced up to 8 years in federal prison for trading city contracts for campaign contributions, according to the AP.

The former Democratic mayor elected who served from 2012 to 2016, was convicted of bribery and conspiracy charges in party of a “pay-to-play investigation” that led to raids of Reading’s City Hall and Allentown’s City Hall in 2015, just weeks apart. This same raid ensnared former Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in October.

In August, a jury convicted Spencer on nine counts of bribery and one count of each of conspiracy and wire fraud, according to the Reading Eagle.

The AP reports that federal prosecutors sought a 10-12 year prison sentence, while Spencer’s attorney pleaded for leniency, blaming the former Mayor’s advisers for the scheme. Just two of the counts were dismissed earlier in the day, while his sentence is based off of the remaining nine counts, the Reading Eagle reports.

Prosecutors say Spencer promised engineering contracts to companies that agreed to deliver campaign contributions, while directing contracts to past donors to ensure they kept supporting his reelection efforts, according to the AP. His reelection bid in 2015 was unsuccessful.

Spencer was also convicted for attempting to bribe former Reading City Council President Francisco Acosta to get an anti-pay-to-play law repealed. He agreed to give Acosta’s wife a campaign contribution for her bid for judge if the anti-pay-to-play ordinance was removed. Acosta, the former council president, was sentenced to two years in prison for taking the bribe, the AP reports.

“I would like to acknowledge my sincere regret for the damage my conviction has caused,” Spencer said in the courtroom according to the Reading Eagle.

Following Spencer’s eight year prison sentence, he has three years of supervised release. He’s also ordered to pay a fine of $35,000, with $10,000 due immediately, according to WFMZ.

He must report to prison June 13.

2 Responses

  1. we have to devoutly hope tht acosta’s wife was not and never will be elected as a judge.

    1. Rebecca Acosta is currently serving her sentence. The bribe was to introduce a change to the city charter eliminating the campaign contribution limit provision. Francisco served his sentence. He and Rebecca are now estranged. What a shame he did not think twice.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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