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.