Former Pa. house speaker off the hook for $1M in restitution

     In this Nov. 13, 2009 file photo, former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, walks through members of the media after attending a hearing in Harrisburg, Pa. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo, File)

    In this Nov. 13, 2009 file photo, former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, walks through members of the media after attending a hearing in Harrisburg, Pa. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo, File)

    Former Pennsylvania State House Speaker John Perzel won’t have to pay $1 million in restitution he was ordered to fork over after his 2011 guilty plea on corruption charges. 

    Perzel, a Republican state representative from Northeast Philadelphia, rose to become House speaker — only to become ensnared in a criminal probe into politicians using state staff and money for political purposes.

    In 2011, Perzel pleaded guilty to theft and conspiracy. He served nearly two years in prison, and was ordered to pay $1 million in restitution to the state.

    But since his sentencing, state courts have ruled that the Commonwealth cannot be considered a victim for the purposes of restitution. So the state superior court has thrown out his restitution order, and he won’t have to come up with the million bucks. There’s been no word yet on whether the state attorney general’s office will appeal the decision.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.