Philadelphia Criminal Law News

State Representative Bill DeWeese Guilty of Theft and Conspiracy

A Dauphin County jury found state Representative Bill DeWeese guilty of charges that he illegally used his legislative staff to perform his campaign work. DeWeese was found guilty on five of six counts of theft, conspiracy, and conflict of interest.

It’s not clear if DeWeese will face any prison time, but the state representative has vowed that he will continue his reelection bid and said that he would be exonerated in the court of public opinion, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. It wasn’t reported if a convicted felon is capable of holding public office.

The 61-year-old DeWeese was basically accused of having his legislative staff (who are paid by the taxpayers) perform his personal political campaign work, reports the Inquirer. Public funds cannot be used to benefit private political campaigns, and a jury found that DeWeese’s use of public funds in this way was no different than had he stole the money from some random person and then hired someone to perform his campaign work with the stolen money.

There are many different types of theft in Pennsylvania, and it was not reported which specific theft crime DeWeese was charged with. But the theft of over $2,000 is generally considered a felony in the third degree that can carry a seven-year prison term.

State Representative Bill DeWeese guilty of theft for using his legislative staff to perform his personal campaign work. DeWeese plans to continue his run for public office, but he may want to redirect his efforts to staying out of jail.

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