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The St. Pierre Swindle

  Mark St. Pierre, the former City Hall technology contractor who was convicted in federal court in May for his role in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar swindle, was sentenced Sept. 1 to 210 months — or 17 1/2 years — in prison. St. Pierre will begin serving his sentence Oct. 14.

  U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon denied prosecutors' request that St. Pierre be ordered to pay the city $911,000 in restitution — the same amount St. Pierre was convicted of handing out in bribes to former city chief technology officer Greg Meffert, his wife Linda, and former city director of management information systems Anthony Jones between 2004 and 2007, in return for millions in no-bid contracts Jones and Meffert funneled to businesses St. Pierre controlled. St. Pierre has, however, been ordered to forfeit $3.2 million for his role in the conspiracy.

  In a statement to the court, St. Pierre presented himself as a community leader and a devoted father, thanking Fallon for the three months he's been able to spend with his wife and children between the guilty verdict and his sentencing.

  "We are a family of great faith," St. Pierre said. "We have faith in God and faith in the legal system."

  Pleading for leniency for his client, attorney Eddie Castaing called St. Pierre a community leader, a devoted father and a good man who has many friends. Castaing pointed to the more than 150 letters sent to the court on St. Pierre's behalf. St. Pierre's family and friends attended the hearing, some audibly crying throughout. Fallon was unimpressed.

  "On Thursdays beginning at 2 p.m. every week, I sentence people for their crimes," Fallon told St. Pierre in court. "They most often appear alone (or with only their lawyers). They have little education, no resources. ... It's no excuse, but it is something of an explanation. Their American Dream has become something of a nightmare. None of that is applicable to you. ... You let your family down. You let your friends down. You really let your community down."

  The 210-month sentence was at least two-and-a-half years shorter than federal prosecutors were seeking. A pre-sentencing report by the U.S. Department of Probation recommended a 20- to 24-year sentence for St. Pierre. Castaing presented 22 objections to that report, including that it wrongly recommended sentence enhancements for perjury and for St. Pierre's role as a "leader" in the conspiracy. Fallon accepted the latter argument, to a degree, ruling that St. Pierre acted as a manager, not a leader — still a sentence enhancement but a smaller one. — Charles Maldonado

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