Ex-Cleveland council member sentenced to 6 years in prison

A former Cleveland City Council member convicted of stealing $127,000 in city and federal funds has been sentenced to six years in prison

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A former Cleveland City Council member was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for filing false expense reports that led to the theft of $127,000 in city and federal funds over nine years.

A federal court jury convicted Kenneth Johnson, 75, in July of 15 counts that included conspiracy to commit federal program theft, tampering with a witness, falsification of records, federal program theft and aiding in the preparation of false tax returns.

Johnson told U.S. District Judge John Adams before sentencing in Akron that he knows he made mistakes, cleveland.com reported.

“I should have done things differently,” Johnson said. “But I didn't purposefully break the law.”

Adams replied that the case was not about mistakes.

“If you made mistakes, then you could have stepped down,” Adams said. “This is about criminal conduct.”

Adams ordered Johnson to pay $746,000 in restitution to the IRS and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Johnson testified at trial the expense reimbursement reports were accurate and that he had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars helping his constituents during his 40 years on the council.

Johnson also was accused of stealing $50,000 in federal money through payments made to his son and and two people for whom he served as a court-appointed guardian.