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Sittenfeld ordered to pay back money received from undercover FBI agents

Sittenfeld was found guilty on some charges in July 2022.

A federal judge Tuesday signed an order requiring former Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld to pay back money he got from undercover FBI agents.

The $20,000 U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Cole ordered Sittenfeld to repay was at the center of the former councilmember's 2022 bribery and attempted extortion convictions. The jury found Sittenfeld guilty on one charge of bribery and one charge of extortion. He was found not guilty of both counts of honest services wire fraud and one count each of bribery and extortion.

Federal prosecutors alleged Sittenfeld took the bribes from undercover FBI agents in 2018 in the form of four checks from LLCs to his political action committee. Those contributions came with an understanding, prosecutors alleged, that Sittenfeld would deliver a veto-proof majority on approvals for a development project at 435 Elm Street downtown.

The FBI enlisted developer Chinedum Ndukwe to act as an informant in that case. Ndukwe had been under FBI investigation for allegations, including money laundering prior to aiding the federal investigation into Sittenfeld.

The prosecution used taped conversations between the agents and Sittenfeld, including one in which he stated, "I can deliver the votes," to convince the jury.

Sittenfeld has denied he accepted the money in exchange for favorable votes on any development deal.

RELATED: How P.G. Sittenfeld's political ambitions led him to a criminal trial on bribery charges

The order to return the money will go into effect after Sittenfeld is sentenced. Hearings on that phase of the case begin Oct. 10.

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