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Ex-Congressman Cooley Gets 1-Year Term for Hiding Income

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Former U.S. Congressman Wester Cooley was sentenced to one year and a day in prison following his guilty plea last year to hiding $494,000 in income from the Internal Revenue Service.

Cooley, 80, was also ordered to pay $138,470 in back taxes and $3.5 million in restitution to the victims of an investment-fraud scheme he was accused of being part of, according to a statement today by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

Cooley, a Republican, represented Oregon’s second Congressional District from 1995 to 1997. He was accused in 2009 of helping to bilk investors out of more than $10 million by selling unregistered stock of Bidbay.com, of which Cooley was vice president, under the pretext that EBay Inc. would be buying the company.

He pleaded guilty last year to one count of filing a false tax return, in exchange for which prosecutors dropped the other charges against him and agreed to seek no more than one year in prison at his sentencing.

Steve Escovar, Cooley’s lawyer, said in a phone interview that his client will probably serve his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.

“The sentence took into consideration his present medical condition,” the lawyer said.

The case is U.S. v. Cooley, 09-00084, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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