Former D.C. official pleads guilty to federal crimes

D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. , who plans to plead guilty to two federal crimes, announced his resignation on Thursday.

Story highlights

  • "I want to apologize to those I have let down," Thomas says
  • Thomas says he made some "poor decisions"
  • Court documents allege he embezzled and obtained property by fraud
A District of Columbia councilman pleaded guilty to two federal crimes Friday, a day after he was charged with taking thousands of dollars worth of district property and filing false tax returns.
Court documents allege that Harry L. Thomas Jr. 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.
"I am resigning my position as a member of the council effective immediately," Thomas said in a statement Thursday. "I made some very serious mistakes and exhibited inadequate and flawed judgment. I take full responsibility for my actions. I am truly sorry."
Thomas said he made some "poor decisions" and admitted wrongdoing.
"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."
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 his home last month and seized an SUV and a motorcycle.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Vincent Gray and City Council Chairman Kwame Brown called for Thomas to step aside.
"Now is the time for the healing process to begin," Brown said in a statement issued after the resignation. "It is a somber day for District residents and I believe that we will prevail as we have before through tumultuous times. Councilmember Thomas has been a valued colleague and friend. I am deeply saddened and disappointed by this course of events."
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," and an obligation to pay any applicable interest or fines.
The sentence for filing a false return includes a maximum of three years of imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or of twice the pecuniary gain or loss, and an obligation to pay any applicable interest or penalties.