EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The state’s top federal prosecutor said the case against former House Speaker Gordon Fox cataloged financial misdeeds dating back to 2008 because that was as far back as Fox’s bank records dated.
U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said they didn’t leave anything on the cutting room floor, charging Fox with everything they found. He said FBI agents and prosecutors combed through every bank transaction Fox made since 2008 and flagged anything that seemed questionable.
“The one that they found that caused the most concern frankly the one we felt we could prove criminal misconduct was the one involving shark bar which is why we went with that one,” Neronha said on taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers.
As part of the plea deal, Fox admitted to taking a $52,500 bribe from the owners of Shark Bar in Providence to approve a liquor license when he was vice chairman of the Providence Board of Licenses.
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After receiving a three-year sentence on Thursday Fox was asked if that was the only bribe he took, in response he said, “the government has looked at me at me and looked at me and looked at me would not be in the position of closure if that were not the case.”
Fox and prosecutors reached a plea deal in March, the former lawmaker pleaded guilty to tax evasion, wire fraud and bribery.
“Can I tell you Gordon Fox over the course of his life has not taken another bribe? I can’t tell you that,” Neronha said. “Is it unfair to speculate that based on what he’s already done? Perhaps. But what I focus on is what I know, and what I can prove and what we can prove.”
Neronha said the bribery case was outside the federal statute of limitations, but Fox waived that as part of the plea deal. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has said they are reviewing the information gathered in the Fox case to see if there are any other charges to pursue related to the bribe.
“Our goal was twofold: to remove him from office, he was corrupt he needed to go,” Neronha said. “The second goal was to make sure he paid a price for it and that price was going to jail.”
Fox will have to report to a federal prison on or before July 7.