Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 money she received from a Broward County doctor as part of an influence-peddling scheme, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Prosecutors said Dawson, a Democrat who served 16 years in the Legislature representing the Fort Lauderdale area, failed to file tax returns for five years and concealed about $82,000 in secret payments she received from political committees controlled by Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a Hollywood eye doctor and lobbyist.

Dawson, 56, became ensnared in a wide-ranging corruption probe focused on Mendelsohn, a prodigious Republican fundraiser now serving a four-year prison sentence on fraud and conspiracy charges. When he pleaded guilty in 2010, Mendelsohn said he funneled checks to Dawson through a campaign aide to ensure that she would not block legislation favoring the medical profession.

Dawson, who left office in 2008 because of term limits, pleaded guilty in April to one count of tax evasion and one count of failing to file a tax return.

Dawson's lawyer, assistant federal public defender Paul Korchin, asked that Dawson be allowed to serve her sentence on house arrest. Korchin said Dawson suffers from depression and rheumatoid arthritis requiring intense medical treatment. Dawson now lives in Daytona Beach.

But while U.S. District Judge Robert Scola expressed sympathy for Dawson, he said her violation of the "public trust" demanded a prison sentence.

"The money you were receiving was for some nefarious and sinister purpose," Scola said. But the judge also recognized that Dawson "did make a substantial contribution to your community."

Before the sentencing, Dawson offered a brief, emotional apology.

"I just want to say that I am very sorry for what I have done," Dawson told the judge in a halting voice.

In addition to six months in prison, Dawson also must serve two years of probation and pay $29,272 in restitution for unpaid taxes from 2003 to 2006.

Former state Sen. Mandy Dawson sentenced to six months in federal prison on tax charges 07/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 20, 2012 6:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  2. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond

    Crime

    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff's Office on Friday.
  3. Mayor Rick Kriseman says election is about moving forward

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office  Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward..

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  4. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection

    Accidents

    MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.

    Pepe Salgado, 18, was killed Friday along with his sister Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15, in a car crash in Plant City. They were passengers in a car driven by their cousin Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, who was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition. All three lived in Mulberry and attended Mulberry High School. [Polk County School District]
  5. Assisted living facility owner accused of sexually assaulting employee in Pinellas

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — An assisted living facility owner was arrested Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted an employee, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.