Vincent J. Fumo, for 30 years one of the most powerful politicians in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, has been on trial since October for conspiracy, fraud, tax offenses and obstruction of justice. Yesterday he was found guilty of all 137 counts against him. He faces 10 years or more in prison.
His co-defendant, Ruth Amano, was found guilty of all 45 counts against her.
I’ve been following this case closely, and wrote about it in November—see Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent J. Fumo on trial for corruption. He was brazen in flaunting his power, snubbing the rules, and spending “other people’s money.” He thought of himself as “royalty.”
The guy is clearly a sociopath, although no one except Lovefraud has said it. So to see a big, black headline on the front page of the newspaper this morning stating that he’d been convicted was extremely satisfying. For extensive coverage of the verdict, and a summary of the case, see Fumo: Guilty on all counts in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Last week, of course, Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury and theft. He admitted running a Ponzi scheme that vaporized the life savings of thousands of investors. For coverage of the plea, see Madoff goes to jail after guilty pleas in the New York Times.
Even though Madoff is sitting in jail, rather than relaxing in his penthouse apartment, it appears that he pleaded guilty in order to game the system. By circumventing a trial, he seems to be trying to protect his wife, sons, and perhaps other people who may have known what was going on.
Criminal vs. manipulation
The good news about the Madoff case is that people in the media are continuing to refer to him as a sociopath, which may help educate the public. Unfortunately, that’s not happening with Vince Fumo.
The difference appears to be that Madoff’s actions were blatantly criminal, even though he was quiet and covert about it. Madoff stole money. A lot of money.
Fumo, on the other hand, said he wasn’t defrauding a community organization; he was accepting “gifts” in return for his efforts on behalf of the organization. And he wasn’t defrauding the senate when his state-paid aides handled his personal affairs. He said the aides “volunteered” to help him in addition to their legislative responsibilities.
So sociopathy is associated with criminality, but not grandiose arrogance and manipulation.
Well, at least these two guys are facing consequences for their actions. It’s a start.