Wilson-Foley sentenced to 5 months in prison, 5 months supervised release in campaign finance case

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NEW HAVEN -- Former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley was  sentenced to five months in prison and five months supervised release Tuesday.  She was convicted in a scheme to hide that she paid former Gov. John Rowland $35,000 for his help on her 2012 campaign for the 5th District.

Judge Janet Bond Atherton sentenced her one year probation in addition to electronic monitoring. She was also fined $25,000. “She kept Mr. Rowland in his role for approximately six months, even having the power to stop payments,” said Arterton.

Federal prosecutors had sought a 10-month prison sentence because she didn't cooperate with their investigatio.

Wilson-Foley will report to prison July 1. Her attorney requested she complete her sentence in West Virginia, despite Danbury having a women's prison.

Wilson-Foley addressed the court before her sentencing and broke down and cried.

“I thought running for congress would be like building a business, which includes putting smart people around you,” said Wilson-Foley, who owns multiple businesses that employ hundreds. She then asked the judge for mercy. "I hope you can see my life in all its totality and sentence me with wisdom and grace."

Her attorney, Craig Raabe, claimed that she and her husband had come to an agreement with the government in January 2014 saying that if her husband testified truthfully she wouldn't be prosecute. However, U.S. attorney Christopher Mattei denied this claim.

“The government told Ms. Wilson-Foley that, if she provided truthful information, there would be a solution by which she wouldn’t not be charged,” said Mattei.

Wilson-Foley and her husband pleaded guilty on March 31, 2014 to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions. Prosecutors say the couple created a sham contract between her husband Brian Foley’s nursing home company and Gov. Rowland.

Prosecutors say Wilson-Foley did not want the public to know that Rowland was working for her campaign, so her husband was paying Rowland for nominal work for running a nursing home that he owns. Rowland was collecting money from Sept. 2011 to April 2012.

Her attorneys argued that hiding the payments for his work was only a record-keeping violation and that the criminal prosecution was driven by sensationalism, but it didn't stand. Prosecutors denied the claims.

Last week, former Gov. Rowland was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fines for his involvement in this same scheme. Foley-Wilson's husband Brian was sentenced to three years probation, and must spend the first three months in a halfway house.