Former Mahoning County Judge Charged with Honest Services Mail Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 03, 2009|
Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI, announced today that an Information has been filed charging Maureen A. Cronin, age 59, of Youngstown, Ohio, with two counts of honest services mail fraud.
According to the Information, Maureen A. Cronin was a Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge from January 1995, through July 2007. As a Common Pleas Judge, she had a fiduciary relationship with the State of Ohio, Mahoning County and its citizens requiring disinterested decision-making when performing her official duties, full disclosure of the potential motivation behind, and material information relevant to, her official acts, including full disclosure of conflicts of interest, which would provide the citizens of Mahoning County with the information necessary to evaluate her motivations for official acts.
The Information states that from July 2006, through April 2008, Maureen A. Cronin engaged in a scheme and artifice to defraud and deprive the State of Ohio, Mahoning County, and the citizens of Mahoning County, of their intangible right to her honest services. She is alleged to have accomplished this by taking a personal payment or “loan” from an individual who was a senior executive of a business with multiple cases pending before the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas and concealing it from the citizens of Mahoning County. Cronin obtained a “loan” in the amount of $18,000.00 from a senior executive of an area business; there was no payment schedule associated with the loan, no collateral was offered, and no interest was charged. After obtaining the “loan,” Cronin continued to preside as a Common Pleas Judge over pending and newly filed cases involving the senior executive’s company and affiliated companies. During this time, Cronin made no payments on the “loan.”
The Information alleges that defendant Cronin failed to disclose to the public, her fellow Common Pleas Judges, the parties of pending civil cases, and other government officials her financial relationship with the senior executive whose company had cases pending before the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas. She concealed the nature of her role by filing false annual State of Ohio Financial Disclosure Statements for 2006 and 2007, thereby not disclosing her self-enrichment and conflicts of interest while serving as a Common Pleas Judge.
U.S. Attorney Dettelbach stated: “The citizens of Mahoning County suffer when elected officials violate the public trust. When someone charged with the responsibility of doing justice is alleged to have violated that trust, we will act swiftly to investigate and prosecute those involved and to restore confidence in the judicial system. Today’s filing demonstrates our commitment to investigating and prosecuting allegations of corruption in the Mahoning Valley.”
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin J. Roberts, following an investigation by the Youngstown office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.An Information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.