Federal judge sentences Weimar to six months

Man pleaded guilty to funneling money to a candidate's consultant

Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2008

ANCHORAGE - A Montana man who once owned Alaska's only network of privately run halfway houses has been sentenced to six months in prison on public corruption charges.

U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick on Wednesday also ordered Bill Weimar to pay a $75,000 fine, serve six months of home confinement, and live under two years of supervised release following the prison term.

Weimar, 68, pleaded guilty Aug. 12 to funneling money to a consultant for an unnamed state Senate candidate in return for the candidate's support for a private prison project.

He was charged in an ongoing federal corruption probe that has snared 11 others, including U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the history of the U.S. Senate.

Stevens was convicted last month of seven felony counts of failing to report gifts, mostly renovations to his Girdwood home. He is in a close re-election bid with Democrat Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage.

Nine people have been convicted of corruption charges in Alaska, including three former state representatives.

The formal charges against Weimar were conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud and structuring financial transactions.

Federal prosecutors said Weimar admitted conspiring with a state Senate candidate and the owner of a company that provided consulting and advertising services.

Under the illegal arrangement, Weimar paid the consultant about $20,000 in 2004 for expenses incurred by the candidate's campaign.

According to court papers, Weimar had an agreement with the candidate that if elected, he would use his official position to further Weimar's business interests, including a $5.5 million stake in the private prison project.

Weimar would only receive that money if the private prison was built. A private prison needed the approval of state lawmakers. The private prison was never built.

On Aug. 18, 2004, Weimar was told by the candidate's campaign office that the campaign funding was depleted, according to court papers. Prosecutors contend that Weimar arranged with the consultant to pay the $20,000 outstanding bill.

Weimar now lives in Big Arm, Mont.

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