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Democratic ex-Rep. Chaka Fattah sentenced to 10 years in prison

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Former Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Former Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah has been sentenced to 10 years in prison following a conviction on charges of racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud.

Fattah, who is from Philadelphia, was elected to Congress in 1994.

In June, a jury determined that Fattah had taken an illegal $1 million loan from former Sallie Mae chairman Albert Lord to prop up his 2007 bid to become Philadelphia's mayor. He then used federal grant money from NASA to repay the loan through an education nonprofit organization, WPVI-TV reported.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle on Monday called Fattah's crimes "astonishing," noting a rich irony.

"For someone so interested in advancing education for the disadvantaged, you had the temerity to steal from the Educational Advancement Alliance, a nonprofit supported by government funds," Bartle said.

"While you have done much good, you also engaged in grave and widespread criminal activity. You abused your trust, time and time again," Bartle added.

Fattah, at the sentencing, said he had "mixed emotions.

"I've helped tens of millions of people. [That] has nothing to do with the fact that I've been found on the wrong side of these questions by a jury," the former congressman said.

Fattah was defeated in a spring Democratic primary. His congressional seat is now occupied by former Pennsylvania state Rep. Dwight Evans, who is also a Democrat.

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