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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former state Sen. Mandy Dawson sentenced to six months in federal prison on tax charges



Former state Sen. Mandy Dawson must serve six months in prison for failing to file tax returns or pay taxes on payments she received from a Broward County doctor as part of an influence-peddling scheme, a federal judge ruled Friday.

An attorney for Dawson, a Democrat who served 16 years in the Legislature representing the Fort Lauderdale area, had asked the judge to sentence Dawson to house arrest, so she could receive medical treatment for arthritis and depression.

But U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said Dawson’s violation of the public trust demanded a stiffer sentence. In addition to the sixth-month prison term, Dawson also must pay $29,000 in restitution for unpaid taxes.

Dawson pleaded guilty in April to tax evasion and failing to file a tax return. Federal prosecutors say she received about $82,000 in secret payments in an influence-peddling scheme led by Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a Hollywood eye doctor and lobbyist. Dawson also failed to file any tax returns for several years while serving in the Legislature. Mendelsohn is now serving a four-year prison term.

Dawson, who now lives in Daytona Beach, will have to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Oct. 5.

Scott Hiaasen, Miami Herald

[Last modified: Friday, July 20, 2012 12:17pm]


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