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Former Providence City Council Member Sentenced for Campaign Finance Violations and Embezzling from Providence Cobras Track Club

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Kevin Jackson (age 60), of Providence, was sentenced today by Superior Court Justice Brian P. Stern to 10 years with one and one-half years to serve and the remainder suspended with probation for campaign finance violations and for embezzling more than $100,000 from the Providence Cobras Track Club.

In addition, Jackson, a former Councilman for the City of Providence, was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, restitution of $12,074.06 for the misuse of his campaign finance funds, to be held in a restricted receipt account of the Board of Elections and to be used for education of candidates for public office on campaign finances laws, and restitution of $105,042.15 in embezzled funds meant to support the Cobras Track Club, which will be held in cy pres by the Court until an appropriate entity can be determined to manage said restitution for the purpose for which it was intended. The Judge set January 14, 2019 for execution of the sentence. In accordance with the sentence, Jackson will be housed in the minimum-security facility of the Adult Correctional Institution and be allowed to leave the facility for work purposes only. Judge Stern ordered that any money Jackson earned from his employment will be split to pay for the cost of his incarceration and go towards restitution.

Jackson pleaded nolo contendere in October to two counts of unlawful appropriation over $1,000, one count of embezzlement and fraudulent conversion over $100, one count of giving a false document to a public official, and one count of violation of campaign contribution and expenditures reporting.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that Jackson used the "Friends of Kevin Jackson" campaign account for personal expenses, including expenditures at restaurants, retail shops in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and a liquor store, among others. In addition, checks were made from the Friends of Kevin Jackson campaign account for cash with no explanation of the expenditure.

In addition, between January 1, 2009 and January 26, 2016, Jackson embezzled more than $100,000 from the Providence Cobras Track Club, which was started by Jackson as a non-profit youth athletic program. Review of bank records by Rhode Island State Police Detective Courtney Elliott identified that a total of $245,640.59 in deposits were made to the Providence Cobras, including $45,932 in donations directly from the City of Providence.

A further analysis of the Cobras account by Detective Elliott showed almost weekly expenditures for personal or political use, including $5,206.80 for gasoline, $2,094.28 for political campaign purchases, automobile repairs including $15,274.70 at Pep Boys, and $1,364.54 for two nights at the Atlantic House, among others. In addition, the account showed expenditures to restaurants, retail locations, tax payments in the amounts of $4,456.46 and $104.73, and checks totaling $57,720 made out to cash.

"Kevin Jackson used both his campaign account and the Cobras account as his personal piggy bank. He violated the trust of his constituents, and in some ways worse, used the reputation of the Providence Cobras Track Club, an organization created to provide inner-city youth with the opportunity to participate in and compete at a high level, to further his lavish lifestyle," said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.

Rhode Island State Police Detective Courtney Elliott led the investigation. Assistant Attorney General Paul Carnes and Special Assistant Attorney General Eric Batista prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

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