BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Former Ellicott District Councilmember Brian Davis expressed regret for his actions after a federal judge sentenced him to prison for stealing from taxpayers.
The former lawmaker had hoped he would walk with just probation. But for stealing $48,000 in taxpayer money, the judge sentenced him to one year and one day in prison.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul said, "In my time as United States Attorney, this is perhaps one of the most extreme examples we've had of an individual abusing the public trust."
Davis almost got away with it. Federal investigators caught him while working on a different case.
Davis had access to $100,000 a year of discretionary funds, meant to help his district, which could really use it. Over a four-year period, Davis funneled some of that money into his own pocket.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher Piehota said, "Buffalo has for a long time been known as the "City of Good Neighbors." Brian Davis has proven himself to not be a good neighbor."
Outside the courtroom, Davis addressed reporters, stating, "And again, as I stated in the courtroom, I fully accept responsibility."
But in reality, in the courtroom Davis tried to rationalize why he deposited the taxpayer money into his personal account. He claimed he meant for it to be used by community groups, but he got sloppy because he's not a detail person.
Hochul noted, "[That flies] in the face of his plea agreement."
And investigators say that's not what the evidence showed: that Davis intentionally stole the money.
Davis continued, "Again, I want to reiterate what I said in court. And what I said back in November 2009. I'm truly sorry. I apologize. I only aspired to be the best Ellicott Councilmember the City of Buffalo has ever seen."
Hochul says the public deserved better.
"It does send a message that if you are elected, you owe a duty of honesty, of integrity to those whose vote you earned," he said.
Davis will end up serving about 10 months of actual prison time. Prosecutors asked the judge for a tougher sentence because Davis was also convicted in state court of stealing campaign money in 2009.
Davis will have to pay back all the money he stole and after he's released from jail, will be on probation for two years.
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