- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A lawyer for imprisoned former House Speaker Gordon Fox said he has a meeting scheduled for Thursday with Board of Elections staff as he tries to sort out his client’s campaign account, which Fox pilfered for personal use.

It’s not yet clear how much money is left in the account. Fox acknowledged taking $108,000 from it as far back as 2008 to finance a lifestyle he could not afford, with an expensive house, car and purchases at Tiffany’s. But according to numbers released by prosecutors and filed with the Board of Elections, there is an unaccounted-for gap of at least $150,000.

Albin Moser was appointed to oversee Fox’s campaign finances when he was sentenced in June to three years in prison for taking campaign money and accepting a $52,500 bribe.

Moser said in an email that Thursday’s meeting with Board of Elections staff is being held to “let them know the status and progress” of his work and ask them what next steps they would like him to take.

Ric Thornton, the board’s director of campaign finance, said he couldn’t confirm the meeting, citing board confidentiality. But he says Fox’s campaign finance reports were inaccurate, and the board would expect them to be amended, even if it meant going back years. Thornton said he could not comment on whether the board was conducting its own investigation.

Fox reported having $202,000 in his account at the end of 2013. However, the U.S. attorney’s office said when he was charged in March that he actually had $52,000 in the account at that time, a gap of $150,000. Fox’s most recent campaign finance report, filed for the period ending Dec. 31, 2014, said the account held $244,000.

When asked in March about the difference between what Fox was charged with taking and what investigators had accounted for, U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said only that investigators were able to identify $108,000 in illegal transfers.

Moser said he is also working with banks to get access to Fox’s accounts, and he asked federal prosecutors for help in obtaining financial records that will help him verify transactions. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office did not immediately comment.

As part of Fox’s sentence, U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi ordered him to repay his campaign account. That money must then be given away in accordance with Board of Elections rules, which say it must be returned to donors, or given to charity, to the state or to another political organization. Moser said on Wednesday that no decision has been made about where the money will go.

Fox began serving his prison term this month in Pennsylvania.


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