Chaka Fattah Jr., the son of the U.S. Congressman of Philadelphia, has a sentencing hearing on Tuesday in federal court. It comes after a jury convicted the younger Fattah in November on bank and tax fraud charges. He faces years behind bars.
During the trial, prosecutors depicted Chip Fattah as a schemer who set up sham companies to line his pockets with money and live a swanky life with Italian suits, upscale dinners and Porsche rides
His enterprises included a luxury concierge business, a consulting operation and a photography business called FattahGraphy.
Fattah brought in several high-profile witnesses to deliver character testimonies, including former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, one of Fattah’s former clients.
Rendell said there’s “no question” Fattah ran a legitimate business. But Rendell’s experience with Fattah was limited to his photography services — years ago, Fattah was a campaign trail photographer for the former governor.
Prosecutors said Fattah stole $100,000 intended to fund a disciplinary program for at-risk students in the Philadelphia School District.
A federal jury convicted Fattah on 22 of 23 bank and tax fraud charges.
During a lunch break on the first day of his trial, Fattah agreed to come to the studios of WHYY for an interview during which he said the federal indictment was based largely on “speculation.”
“I’m an entrepreneur. I took a camera and made $100,000,” Fattah said in October. “The government is criticizing me for trying to figure out how to make money.”
Based on his convictions, federal sentencing guidelines call for up to nearly six years behind bars, but Fattah says he’ll ask the judge for a lenient punishment.
“I never expected to be in this type of situation, facing a sentencing hearing,” Fattah said.
Fattah, who is 33 and not an attorney, elected to represent himself throughout the three-week trial.
“I’m gonna file my appeal in this case,” Fattah said. “And I feel good about my chances in the future.”
Fattah’s dad, 11-term Congressman Chaka Fattah, has a separate political corruption trial scheduled for May.