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Former congressional campaign manager gets 2 years behind bars for embezzling

Jamie Schwartz
In court documents, prosecutors call the criminal offenses by Jamie Schwartz “serious” and his conduct “egregious.”

Steve Chabot’s former campaign manager was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to two years in prison plus a three-year suspended license for embezzling $1.4 million from the Ohio congressman's campaign between 2011-19.

Jamie Schwartz II pleaded guilty on Monday to wire fraud and falsification of records.

In court documents, prosecutors call the criminal offenses “serious” and the conduct by Schwartz “egregious.”

They say for nearly a decade, “Schwartz fraudulently lined his own pockets with campaign funds at the expense of his friends and the entity he was hired to help further. Then, to conceal his criminal activities from federal officials, he doubled-down on his embezzlement scheme by engaging in one even more elaborate — for months he falsified official records, forged bank records, and lied to the FEC audit team to hide his years of stolen funds.”

At one point, Schwartz claimed his father was the treasurer of Chabot’s campaign, a job he unofficially held. His dad didn’t have anything to do with it. Schwartz Sr. is in the jewelry business.

Prosecutors say when Schwartz realized he could no longer continue his activities, he reported them to law enforcement.

Schwartz was facing three years behind bars, but the government acknowledged its recommendation for a lighter sentence was due to him coming forward with evidence.

Schwartz apologized to Chabot and his campaign for misusing their trust, as well as to his children, saying he will forever be trying to repay them for not being around for the next two years.

“Jamie’s fall from grace has led him to become more invested in his kids’ lives and to be a better father," defense attorney Kevin Tierney says in court documents released Monday. "It’s devastating to him to know the negative impact his actions have had and will have on his children.”

Tierney says there is little risk that his client will commit further crimes. He realizes his political career is over and since closing the doors on his two businesses — Fountain Square Group and Prime Media LLC — he has worked as a landscaper, an electrician and a freight broker.

Schwartz is an Elder High School and Ohio State University graduate.

Updated: March 1, 2022 at 3:15 PM EST
This story was first published Monday, Feb. 28 and has been updated.
Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.
Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.