Plea scheduled for ex-Rendell aide snared in FBI sting

A former top state official is scheduled to plead guilty to wire fraud next week in a case apparently stemming from an FBI investigation into allegations of public corruption in Pennsylvania.

John Estey’s plea hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in federal court in Harrisburg. Last Friday, federal prosecutors filed a plea agreement saying Estey had collected $20,000 in supposed campaign contributions in 2011 from a fake company set up by the FBI.

The court papers say Estey had agreed to distribute the money to state lawmakers in a way that would hide the company’s role, but ended up using $13,000 for his personal use.

Estey served four years as Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s chief of staff. The Hershey Trust Co. fired Estey Friday from his job as executive vice president.

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