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Former judge Cronin set free



Published: Fri, March 9, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

She served 2 years in prison for fraud

photo

Cronin

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Maureen A. Cronin, a former Mahoning County judge, will be on supervised release for three years after serving her time in a prison camp at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Ill.

Cronin was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and fined $4,000 by U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi after she pleaded guilty to two felony counts of honest-services mail fraud.

The former common pleas court judge left the prison Thursday morning, said Chris Burke, public affairs specialist at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C.

Cronin, 58, entered the federal prison March 24, 2010, and served slightly less than two years there because she earned 106 days of good-time credit for satisfactory behavior, Burke said. She must report to her probation officer within 72 hours of her release.

As of late Thursday afternoon, her brother, Bill, and a dog awaited her return to her Canfield Road residence, where a leprechaun figure bore a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” message outside her door.

As he awaited her arrival after the 11-hour drive from the prison to Youngstown, the former judge’s brother said she would be granting no interviews with the press.

Maureen Cronin took an $18,000, no-interest cash loan from Flora Cafaro, part-owner of the Cafaro Co., in the back seat of Cafaro’s car, while that Youngstown-based shopping mall development and management company had civil cases pending in her court. Cronin also failed to report that loan on financial disclosure forms she mailed to the Ohio Supreme Court for 2006 and 2007.

At Cronin’s sentencing, her lawyer, J. Gerald Ingram, said she had turned to alcohol and gambling after her mother and longtime boyfriend died within a year of each other around 2004, and took the money in 2006 to help pay off her growing gambling debt.

At sentencing, Judge Lioi set these conditions of Cronin’s probation:

She must provide her probation officer with access to any requested financial information.

She must participate in an approved substance-abuse treatment program, including alcohol and drug testing, to determine if she has reverted to substance abuse.

She must participate in an outpatient mental-health treatment program as directed by her probation officer.

She must not participate in any legal or illegal gambling, including Internet or lottery gambling, nor frequent gambling establishments, nor associate with people involved in gambling.

She may not leave northern Ohio without the permission of Judge Lioi or her probation officer.

Cronin resigned in 2007 after more than 12 years as a common pleas judge, and she resigned from law practice early in 2010.

Before becoming the first woman to be elected as a common pleas judge in the county, she had been Youngstown city assistant prosecutor and prosecutor. She had earlier been a county children services board social worker.

Based on her 30 years of public service and her final annual judicial salary of $118,316, her monthly Ohio Public Employees’ Retirement System pension would be about $6,500.

Cronin’s pension will remain intact because her felony was committed prior to the May 13, 2008, effective date of a state law that requires public officials convicted of felonies to forfeit their pensions.

Julie Graham-Price, Ohio PERS communications manager, said she could not address the former judge’s specific situation, but she said pension payments generally would not be suspended during a retiree’s imprisonment for crimes committed before the law changed.

Before her federal conviction, Cronin was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2005 and 2007.

As a federal prisoner, she was housed with about 270 other inmates in a minimum-security satellite prison camp for women offenders adjacent to FCI Greenville.

The female prison camp is a dormitory-style facility, which provides inmate labor to the main institution and to off-site work programs.


Comments

1youngstownsteve(75 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Welcome home Maureen! Hope your transition is a good one. May God grant you peace and strength.

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2foxyglo(372 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

BLAH, BLAH,BLAH, SAVE IT. JUDGES SIT ON THE BENCH AND SENTENCE OTHER PEOPLE AND HAVE WRONG DOINGS UP THEIR SLEEVE ALL THE TIME. BOO=HOO

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3johnyoung(241 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

She owned up to her mistakes and took her punishment. More that what can be said for most other politicians. America is the land of second chances for those who truly want to change.

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4fcb(323 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

LOAN!!! It wasn't a loan,it was a bribe!! Get it strait.All that and she gets $6500 a month! What the hell is wrong with this country.If she wants to do some good for her town have her go talk to that other Judge naned Maureen Sweeney.That one is going down the same road,letting all these felons off with slaps on the wrists.Tell me she doesn't get some thing back for that.

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5mgilbert49(1 comment)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

judges concilman or whoever in office shoudl be treated no better than any oen else yes it was a bribe she got caught
other politicians do things and get away with things dont understand dthe juducaial system
like the councilman that shut off the trubines in lordstown and charges got dismissed cause he is a councilman that isnt right at all whats next anyone else did that they would be behind bars

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6palefoot(35 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

She served 2 years and paid her fine, how many murderers in Youngstown have done that?

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7walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I find it hard to have sympathy for a judge whom knowingly took an oath to uphold the law, is convicted of accepting a "no-interest loan" (read: bribe), serves only 2 years in prison and is now forced to live on only $6500 per month! Of course not being able to drink and gamble nor leave northern Ohio could be punishment enough for her.

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8palbubba(664 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Three convictions and a $78,000 per year pension placed on the backs of the tax payers. When will we the people wake up? Why is DO NOTHING BOB (Hagan) screaming about this instead of running around trying to get a petition signed to get Rush off the air. Criminals getting pensions paid for by us is much worse than a blowhrd that you can turn off.

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9HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Mr Sobchak above is correct. Judges are supposed to be held to a higher standard than the average citizen. Yet, the Mahoning Valley seems to have something in the water that makes public servants want to take bribes and do illegal activities. The list is long. Funny too, how many of them are graduates of the parochial schools!

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10zz3(931 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

She was very strict(nasty) when on bench to boot,no tolerance. I think most of these comments are great she comes out of it with a nice pension. WOW Also, what the heck do they feed you in prison. LOL

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11legend33(169 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Time to hit Mountaineer and the pub again

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12gdog4766(1495 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

No elected official or public servant convicted of a felony that involves their sworn duties shoulld receive a pension. Almost the whole Campbell PD retired at once when Strollo began to sing just to save their pensions. That dirtbag Traficant receives a pension, Kerrigan, Poliviscak and on and on. None who use their position or office should get a dime of public money. If that was a law I bet you would see a lot less Philomenas around here.

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13DwightK(1256 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Is the money in an envelope called a "loan" because the prosecutors couldn't prove anything was done in her court to reciprocate the payment?

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14jokerman(6 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

To everyone saying she took a bribe and shouldn't receive her pension, please tell me, since you know so much, what exactly did she do in exchange for the bribe? The answer is nothing. As Johhnyyoung said above, she owned up to her mistakes and served her punishment. Let me repeat what YoungstownSteve said: "Welcome home Maureen! Hope your transition is a good one. May God grant you peace and strength." For those of you who wish to send her ill will and nasty messages, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

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15candystriper(575 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

What a shame she can't leave Ohio for substance abuse treatment...so much for Malibu Passages.

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16gdog4766(1495 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

The Cafaros would never give anyone a penny without expecting something in return. Your being a little thick to think this was a "loan". What do you think Cafaro said to the Feds when they came to her about the money. A bribe will put you in jail a unpaid loan does not. She made a mistake and paid for it but no she does not deserve her pension. And you should be ashamed for excusing her abuse of the trust of the people by taking this money.

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