Ex-Dayton employee RoShawn Winburn seeks probation, not prison

An attorney for former city of Dayton employee RoShawn Winburn implored a federal judge to spare Winburn a prison sentence and give him probation, according to documents filed with the court in advance of his sentencing today.

The sentencing memorandum from Winburn’s attorneys also cites the Lord’s Prayer and a title of a song popularized by Led Zeppelin.

“Lead us not into temptation. The indelible image which emerges from the investigation file on this case is a surreptitious video of the government’s chief witness placing hundred dollar bills, one-by-one, into an envelope,” the document says. “The video continues with a view of Mr. Winburn entering the room and having a discussion with the government’s witness. The conversation and the video conclude with Mr. Winburn accepting the envelope.”

Winburn is not claiming he was entrapped, according to the memorandum filed by attorneys David C. Greer and David P. Williamson, but rather was pulled “loose from the moral moorings that should have led him to reject the envelope.”

In February Winburn, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of corruptly soliciting a bribe. Five other charges were dismissed. The former city of Dayton business and technical assistance administrator accepted more than $6,500 in exchange for giving confidential information and other assistance to a contractor seeking city business.

“The only individual who entrapped Mr. Winburn was himself. He is painfully aware of the song ‘It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine,‘” his attorneys wrote, adding that everything in Winburn’s upbringing, work history and lack of previous convictions “would have been expected to have the video end with his rejection of the envelope.”

“The resulting crime has fractured his self-image and left him consumed with remorse, regret and both public and private humiliation,” the memorandum said.

Winburn’s attorneys also said he has diabetes and would be at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 in prison.

Sentencing guidelines call for a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months, according to the memorandum.

U.S. Attorney Brent G. Tabacchi said Winburn should be sent to prison because he “abused his position as a public employee” by accepting bribes in return for providing confidential information to the “purported bidder,” according to the government’s sentencing memorandum.

“When public employees attempt to skew the bidding process for personal gain it deprives legitimate, hard working business owners of a level playing field in their efforts to obtain lucrative contracts,” Tabacchi wrote.

Tabacchi said Winburn lied to the FBI and also attempted to characterize the cash he took as “legitimate consulting fees.”

“While Mr. Winburn is not an arch-criminal, the serious nature of his conduct and the need for general deterrents warrant a meaningful period of incarceration for his conduct,” Tabacchi wrote.

Last year federal authorities indicted Winburn and six other people in an investigation of public corruption in the Dayton region. All but one of the cases involved contracting with the city of Dayton.

Winburn, also a former Huber Heights councilman, is scheduled to appear via remote video to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose, who is handling all seven of the cases. Winburn’s sentencing memorandum says his bribery case is unrelated to the charges against the other defendants.

Former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, 54, of Dayton, was convicted of one count of corruptly soliciting a bribe in exchange for helping a contractor get city work. Williams, who was sentenced to 12 months in prison, was released to home confinement on July 7 after serving nearly 4 months due to concerns over COVID-19 in federal prisons.

Former state Rep. Clayton Luckie, D-Dayton, 56, was convicted and served a four-month sentence in federal prison this year. He was convicted on one count of mail fraud in a scheme involving the city of Dayton’s disadvantaged business program. Luckie previously served a three-year state prison term for diverting about $130,000 from his campaign account for personal use when he was in the Ohio House.

In that case Luckie was convicted of six counts of election falsification, one count of money laundering, one count of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of filing a false ethics statement.

The feds also indicted Steve Rauch, 65, of Germantown, who owns Steve Rauch Inc.;, former Trotwood Mayor Joyce Sutton Cameron, 71, owner of Green Star Trucking Inc.; and her husband, James Cameron, 81, of Trotwood, who is an employee of Green Star.

All were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud involving government demolition contracts. Rauch and Joyce Sutton Cameron pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial in November. James Cameron has not yet made an initial court appearance.

Rauch is accused of using Green Star’s minority-owned status to win demolition contracts from the city of Dayton and other government entities between 2012 and 2014. He and the Camerons allegedly produced false documentation to make it appear Green Star had done work that Rauch completed, according to the indictment.

Brian Higgins, 48, co-owner of Quincy’s restaurant in Dayton, pleaded not guilty to three counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud involving allegations of defrauding an insurance company. His trial is scheduled for November.

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

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