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Former Ore. Congressman Cooley Sentenced To Prison

OPB | Dec. 11, 2012 2:39 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

Contributed By:

Wes Cooley

Wes Cooley

U.S. Congress

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday sentenced former Oregon Congressman Wes Cooley to more than a year in prison. Prosecutors say Cooley was part of a scheme that bilked investors out of more than $10 million.

According to court documents, Cooley was involved in an arrangement in which hundreds of investors were tricked into buying unregistered shares of an Internet auction start-up company. That company was called Bidbay, and for a time, Cooley served as a vice-president. According to the indictment, investors were falsely led to believe the company would be acquired by eBay.

In September, Cooley struck a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to a single count of filing a false tax return.

In addition to time behind bars, the 80-year-old former congressman was also ordered to pay $3.5 million  to the victims of the scheme, as well as an additional $140,000 to the IRS.

Cooley was elected to Congress in 1994 to represent Oregon’s Second Congressional District. But when questions surfaced about a claim that he had served on US Army Special Forces team, fellow Republicans pressured Cooley into abandoning his re-election bid.

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