Posted at: 04/09/2014 5:13 PM
Updated at: 04/09/2014 5:22 PM
By: Brett Davidsen
A local reverend found guilty of taking money from convicted criminals to help get them get more lenient sentences learned his sentence Wednesday.
Police said Reverend Ron House used his influence to negotiate lower sentences for a fee. As an activist and reverend, Ron House often went before judges on behalf of criminals and explained why they should be spared jail time. But Wednesday, he couldn't keep himself from going to prison as a federal judge in Buffalo sentenced him to four years behind bars.
House is a well-known Rochester anti-violence activist. He also worked for the county in the equal employment office.
Authorities put him on trial, saying he secretly used his influence to enrich himself. A jury convicted him in November of obstruction of justice and making false statements. House often appeared in front of judges on behalf of drug dealers or had influential people write character references for them, promising he could get them more lenient sentences. In return, court records show he profited to the tune of $30,000.
I-Team 10 covered much of House's trial and it was an interesting parade of witnesses, from politicians to sitting judges as well as the criminals House promised to help.
His attorney urged the judge to give House probation. House submitted more than two dozen letters from family, friends, and those who claimed he had helped or counseled them, but at his sentencing Wednesday, the judge reportedly admonished House for failing to take responsibility for his crimes.
House was not taken into custody right away. He was given a few days to get his affairs in order before he will have to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons.