Notorious former Washington insider Jack Abramoff appears headed back to prison after entering into a plea deal with federal prosecutors in San Francisco.
Prosecutors announced on Thursday that Abramoff is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to cryptocurrency and lobbying disclosure.
At a news conference in San Francisco, US Attorney David Anderson said Abramoff has agreed to plead guilty and faces up to five years in prison.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also sued Abramoff for conducting a fraudulent, unregistered offering and sale of the digital token called AML Bitcoin.
Abramoff served 43 months in prison in the early 2000s for his role at the center of a lobbying scandal that also resulted in the conviction of officials from the George W. Bush White House, US Representative Bob Ney and nine other lobbyists and congressional aides. He pleaded guilty to a raft of federal corruption charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors investigating Washington influence-peddling, admitting to illegally showering gifts on officials who provided favors for his clients.
After leaving prison, Abramoff said in 2011 that ethics reforms put in place since the influence-peddling scandal hadn’t cleaned up the system “at all,” stressing that the reforms imposed after his guilty plea had little effect while campaign finance remained untouched.
He told CBS at the time that lobbyists could find a way around just about any reform Congress enacted.
“There’s an arrogance on the part of lobbyists, and certainly there was on the part of me and my team, that no matter what they come up with, we’re smarter than them. We’ll just find another way through,” he said.
Abramoff described some of the techniques he employed as a lobbyist as “evil,” “terrible” and, at the same time, “effective” for his firm, his clients and Republican politicians he usually worked with.