Political consultant sentenced to over seven years for stealing funds

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 27, 2015 2:39 PM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Political consultant Kenneth "Buddy" Barfield was sentenced to 87 months in a federal prison for siphoning off more than $2.5 million in campaign funds from a Texas candidate running for a U.S. Senate seat, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

Barfield was also ordered to pay about $2.5 million in restitution and $430,000 for back taxes, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas said.

Barfield took the money from the failed 2012 campaign of Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and used the money to pay for items such as his mortgage, school tuition for his children and investments, it said.

Dewhurst, a Republican and seen as an early favorite, lost the 2012 primary for the Senate seat to Ted Cruz, who then won the general election for the office.

Attorneys for Barfield have declined to speak to reporters.

"The crime, a brazen theft, was straightforward. Barfield stole a lot of money," Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr. said in a statement.

In October, Barfield pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of making a false tax return and one count of embezzlement of federal campaign funds, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Andrew Hay)