Ex-Councilman Gets Year in Prison

September 5, 2012 Updated Sep 5, 2012 at 6:45 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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September 5, 2012 Updated Sep 5, 2012 at 6:45 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Former councilman Brian Davis heading to jail for betraying the publics trust, after confessing to funneling taxpayer money for private use.

Federal Judge William Skretny sentenced Davis to one year and one day in prison and two years of supervised probation. He also has to pay restitution of the $48,237 he stole from City of Buffalo taxpayers.

In May of 2012, Davis plead guilty to one felony count of stealing money from an organization that used federal funds.

This is not the first run in with the law for Davis. He was convicted of stealing campaign contributions in 2009. Still, he asked the Judge for a second chance.

Davis begged Skretny for mercy, asking for probation and community service.

Afterwards, a tearful Davis told the media "I want to reiterate what I said in court and what I said back in November of 2009: I'm truly sorry, I apologize and I only aspire to be the best Ellicott District Council Member Buffalo's ever seen."

The defense argued that Davis did a lot of good during his time on the Buffalo Common Council.

However, the U.S. Attorney's Office asked the Skretny to sentence Davis to two years behind bars.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul explained "When we had an individual who has now been convicted not once, but twice, the second time in federal court -- the government felt it appropriate to ask the Judge to upwardly depart from the sentencing guidelines."

Judge Skretny had harsh words for Davis, telling him "you knew better" and that this type of crime "fuels the environment of distrust in the political process."

As a councilman, Davis was given $100,000 every year to use in the Ellicott district, which he represented.

An FBI investigation revealed from 2006 to 2009, Davis funneled that money to other organizations, and through other groups pocketed $48,237.

Some of that cash even went to Davis' friends.

Davis said he put the money in his own account to better manage funds. However, he says the bookkeeping got "sloppy" and spun out of control.

Hochul says that makes no sense, because "Mr. Davis swore in his plea agreement and then in open court, that he knowingly and intentionally disobeyed the law and did not do this as an accident."

FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Piehota also explains "Buffalo has for a long time been known for the city of good neighbors. Mr. Davis has proven himself to not be a good neighbor."

Meanwhile, the City of Buffalo is auditing how all council members have spent discretionary funds in the last few years.

They have also made new rules. For example, no council member can send this money to an organization they run or sit on the board of. Law enforcement says Davis was president of one of the organizations he funneled money through.

The Bureau of Prisons says in the next week or two, they will determine which federal facility Davis will go to. Skretny ordered that Davis serve his time in a prison close to Western New York because of his family. The closest federal prison is in Bradford, Pennsylvania.

Skretny said that Davis can voluntarily turn himself in.

According to court documents, as part of the plea deal, Davis cannot appeal his conviction or sentence.

According to New York State law, despite being a convicted felon, Davis can still run for public office in the future.