Feds Seize Traficant Proceeds

Posted January 24, 2003 at 4:58pm

Former Rep. James Traficant (Ohio), imprisoned far from his Ohio home, is learning the hard way that crime doesn’t pay. And now so are his wife and daughter.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the seizure of about half of the proceeds raised during a Dec. 1 auction of furniture, antiques and collectibles once owned by the bombastic former lawmaker, who was expelled from the House after a jury convicted him of bribery, racketeering and engaging in corrupt activities.

U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells issued a garnishment order dividing the $10,314.60 in proceeds raised by Anglin’s Auction Service, located in Brookfield, Ohio. Under an agreement worked out with federal prosecutors, Traficant’s wife, Patricia, and daughter, Elizabeth, will receive $5,504.60 from the auction proceeds. The government, which is trying to collect more than $250,000 in fines and penalties from the imprisoned Traficant, will take the balance of $4,810.

Wells stated in her order that Traficant was mailed notice of the action and that he did not request a hearing on the matter.

The government has also issued an order garnishing $402 in funds held in Traficant’s account at the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union. Orders have also been sought to take money sitting in Traficant’s retirement account at the Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio. Traficant served as sheriff of Mahoning County before he was elected to Congress in 1984.

Like nearly everything else associated with Traficant, the plans for the auction generated controversy and an investigation almost as soon as the sale was announced. Agents for the General Services Administration were dispatched by House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) to retrieve a number of furniture items that belong to the House.