Local News

Ex-Congressman Says His Prison Sentence Is Too Long

Posted December 14, 2006 12:50 p.m. EST

— Former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance is asking a judge to reduce the four-year prison sentence he began serving a year ago. He says officials were incorrectly thinking about his son Garey Ballance’s tax-evasion conviction at the time they sentenced the father.

Frank Ballance, a Democrat who represented the 1st Congressional District, reached a plea bargain in November 2005 in which he acknowledged conspiring to commit mail fraud and launder money. He began serving his sentence late last December.

Former state District Court Judge Garey Ballance was released from prison this August after serving eight months of a nine-month federal prison sentence for failing to file a federal income tax return in 2000.

Frank Ballance had been indicted on charges that he funneled $2.3 million in state money into the John A. Hyman Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization he operated to help poor people fight drug and alcohol abuse. Authorities also had alleged that $100,000 went from the foundation to his personal use, including $20,000 for Garey Balance to buy a car.