Washington City Council member charged with theft resigns

Story highlights

  • Resignation came after Thomas was charged with theft
  • The mayor and council chairman had called on him to resign
A District of Columbia City Council member who was charged Thursday with taking thousands of dollars' worth of district property and filing false tax returns has resigned.
"Tomorrow morning I will plead guilty to committing two federal crimes," Harry Thomas Jr. said Thursday in a statement. "I am resigning my position as a member of the council effective immediately. I made some very serious mistakes and exhibited inadequate and flawed judgment. I take full responsibility for my actions. I am truly sorry."
Thomas continued, "As a Councilmember and throughout my life, I have dedicated myself to serving the residents and the youth of Washington, D.C. In the pursuit of this work, I made some poor decisions and acted in ways I simply should not have. I was wrong.
"I want to apologize to those I have let down, including my constituents, neighbors and friends in Ward 5, the residents of this great city, the mayor, my fellow councilmembers and the government officials that serve our city tirelessly."
Court documents made public Thursday allege Thomas embezzled, stole and obtained by fraud property worth at least $353,000 belonging to the District of Columbia. He is charged with theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.
The thefts began at least as early as April 2007 and continued until at least February 2009, the documents say.
Thomas is also charged with filing false tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009, saying his income was below what he actually received.
FBI and IRS agents searched Thomas' home on December 2 and seized an SUV and a motorcycle.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Vincent Gray and City Council Chairman Kwame Brown had called for Thomas to step aside.
Said Gray, "While everyone is presumed innocent till proven otherwise, those who violate the public's trust must be held accountable for their actions. I'm hopeful that this matter will be concluded quickly."
The theft charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or a fine of twice the "pecuniary gain or loss," a $100 special assessment, a three-year term of supervised release, an order of restitution and an obligation to pay any applicable interest or fines.
The sentence for filing a false return is a maximum of three years of imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or a fine of twice the pecuniary gain or loss, a $100 special assessment, a one-year term of supervised release, an order of restitution, an order to pay the costs of prosecution and an obligation to pay any applicable interest or penalties.