Alexander Exum, a former executive assistant and chief of marketing for the D.C. lottery, was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison and was fined $10,000 for accepting a payoff from a lottery board contractor.
U.S. District Court Judge Norma Holloway Johnson rejected Exum's plea for probation after he told her he was "remorseful" and had "yielded to temptation." The judge said she saw it differently.
"I choose to call it avarice," Johnson told the 53-year-old Exum, who she noted had been earning more than $40,000 a year at the lottery board when he took the payoff.
U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova, who has been investigating possible corruption in the D.C. government, said after the sentencing, "The days of wheeling, dealing and stealing in the D.C. government are over. The investigation is continuing and we expect further charges."
Exum last month pleaded guilty to accepting $5,500 and the use of a Honda car from a lottery board contractor. At the time of the plea, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Eisenberg said that Exum and another person conspired in 1984 to seek $50,000 from Han Yong Cho, owner of Washington Cash & Carry, a wholesale food distribution company, in exchange for Cho's receiving contracts to store lottery tickets and lease office space to the lottery board.
Exum pleaded guilty to two felony counts -- one count of conspiracy to accept an illegal gratuity and one count of tax evasion for paying no federal income taxes for 1984.
Yesterday, Johnson sentenced him to three years in prison for each of those counts and fined him $10,000, chastising him for "violating the public trust." She also ordered him to pay more than $11,000 in back taxes.
She then sentenced him to terms of one year in prison for two misdemeanor counts of theft for receiving unemployment benefits while working full time for the District government.
Johnson ordered that the terms run concurrently. Exum will have to serve a minimum of one year, according to prosecutors.
Exum's lawyer had sought probation for his client, telling Johnson that Exum was now working for a congregation of the Assembly of God church in his hometown of Hampton, Va., and helping care for his ailing mother.
Exum asked for probation, telling the judge: "I am indeed remorseful . . . . I allowed my personal problems . . . to cloud my judgment. I yielded to temptation and did things I shouldn't have done."
Prosecutor Eisenberg, however, told the judge that "people who abuse public office should know" that they will go to prison. He added that the sentence should be tempered by the fact that he had cooperated in the investigation.
Johnson told Exum:
"I can understand that you prefer to be on probation. I would too . . . . But after a thorough review . . . it appears to me that the only appropriate sentence is incarceration."