LOS ANGELES — A judge Wednesday ordered the owner of St. Ann Hospice in Glendale to serve 12 months and one day in federal prison for asking his friends and employees to contribute money to political campaigns, which he then reimbursed them for.
U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder also sentenced Gladwin Gill to three years of supervised release for making illegal campaign contributions. During the first six months of his release, he will be under home detention and will have to wear an electronic monitoring device, she said.
Gill, 49, of Covina must pay the court $200,200 within 30 days of his prison release, Snyder said. He is expected to surrender to United States Marshalls at noon Feb. 23, she said.
“I am very, very sorry,” Gill told Snyder. “I did learn a lesson from my mistakes; that has made me a better person.”
Gill took a plea deal and pleaded guilty in December 2007 to making $66,700 in conduit contributions from 2003 to 2005 to election campaigns to reelect President Bush and Vice President Cheney, political committees supporting two United States Senate candidates and a political committee endorsing a U.S. House of Representatives candidate.
Conduit contributions occur when a person, who contributed to a campaign but exceeded the limit allowed by federal law, asks friends or family members to contribute money to the campaign. The individual then reimburses their money from his or her own funds or corporate funds, thereby getting around contribution limits.
Gill reportedly got friends and hospice employees to contribute to the political campaigns and later paid them with corporate funds, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The political campaigns reportedly had no knowledge of the illegal contributions, according to the United States District Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Attorney Dennis Mitchell argued in court that Gill, who he said had a criminal record, knew that making more than 30 conduit contributions was illegal.
“It’s not a matter of theft,” Mitchell said. “It’s a matter of playing by the rules.”
Gill served time in prison for involvement in a $1-million fraud real estate investment scheme in 1995 and assaulting two utility workers with a gun the same year before his plea in the illegal contribution case, according to court documents.
Gill’s actions affect the American people’s trust in the election process, Mitchell said.
But Gill had changed for the better after his previous criminal convictions and his prison release in 1997, Gill’s attorney Mark Harris said.
At Wednesday’s hearing, dozens of Gill’s friends, family and employees showed up to court in support.
After Gill was released from prison, he took over the hospice and since then has “compiled a record of good work,” Harris said.
Gill has donated money to a Darfur peace organization and an AIDS foundation and has bought dentures for his patients at the hospice, Harris said.
But while Gill has done good work, Snyder said he still had a criminal history, and his actions in the campaign contribution case suggested that he knew he was violating the law.
Gill’s sentence was fair, Mitchell said
“I think it was appropriate,” he said.
But Harris was dissatisfied with the jail time sentence because he had asked Snyder for probation.
After Snyder’s judgment, friends, family and employees gathered outside the courtroom and cried and hugged Gill.
“He is a good man,” hospice chaplain Ben Perez said.
VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at email@example.com.