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Published: Wednesday, 4/20/2011

Ohio financial adviser pleads guilty in corruption investigation


CLEVELAND — A financial services adviser has pleaded guilty to conspiracy on charges that he bribed two elected officials in Cleveland with fake palm trees.

Charles Randazzo of Financial Network of America pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Akron in the bribing of Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Auditor Frank Russo to land retirement planning business with the county.

Randazzo allegedly gave more than $1,000 each to Dimora and Russo in 2004 to buy fake palm trees and allegedly gave Dimora food, wine and sports tickets.

Dimora has pleaded not guilty to bribery and awaits trial. Russo pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison.

The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reports that Randazzo made a plea deal with prosecutors and faces a prison sentence of eight to 14 months.

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