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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Former Public Works commissioner and prominent St. Croix businesswoman Ann Abramson was sentenced Wednesday to a 2-1/2-year prison term for making false claims and false statements in connection with Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas K. Moore sentenced Abramson, 76, to 30 months incarceration, after which she will be supervised for a probationary period of three years. She was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and to make restitution to the federal and local government in the amount of $79,639.
Also sentenced Wednesday was contractor Berthill Thomas, who was convicted of similar charges in the same case. Thomas was hit with a 21-month prison sentence, three years supervised probation and a $40,000 fine. He was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $113,639.
Of fines imposed during the sentencing, 90 percent were earmarked for the federal government and 10 percent for the territory.
Both defendants were ordered to pay a special assessment fee, which is being imposed in most federal criminal cases. Thomas' fee totaled $700 while Abramson's special assessment fee came to $200. The money from the fee is deposited into a crime victim/witness fund, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh "Pete" Mabe.
The October 1999 convictions stemmed from a contract approved by Abramson four years earlier when as Public Works Commissioner she ordered reconstruction work on the Department of Finance building on St. Thomas. Abramson, though convicted on the two counts of making false claims and false statements against the government, was acquitted of charges of conflict of interest, conspiracy and bribery involving programs that received federal funds.
Both Abramson and Thomas will be required to surrender to federal authorities once the Bureau of Prisons has identified a facility on the U.S. mainland where they will serve out the jail terms handed down. Legal insiders suggested an appeal of both sentences will likely be filed in the days ahead.
Abramson was represented by attorneys George Cannon Jr. and Lawrence Schoenbach while Thomas was represented in federal court Wednesday by attorney Treston Moore.
Mabe represented the government during the sentencing proceeding, which ended at almost 5:30 p.m.

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