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Rizzo Pleads Guilty, Gets 4( Years in Prison

October 14, 1993

BOSTON (AP) _ Paul Tsongas’ chief fund-raiser drew nearly 4 1/2 years in prison for pocketing nearly $1 million meant for the former senator’s presidential bid.

Prosecutors said Nicholas A. Rizzo Jr. used the money to pay off bank loans and gambling debts. The thefts were discovered after Tsongas quit the 1992 race with his campaign $500,000 in debt.

The 59-year-old Rizzo pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges including fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations. In addition to sending Rizzo to prison, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ordered him to pay $899,000 in restitution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian O’Connor said Tsongas had been unaware of Rizzo’s actions and wasn’t a target of the investigation. ″Mr. Tsongas is hurt as anyone would be who had a friendship betrayed,″ the prosecutor said.

Rizzo’s lawyer, Eugene Patrick McCann, said his client was a victim of the recession.

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