Joseph Cari was sentenced to three years’ probation on 9 August for his role in a corruption scheme that led to the convictions of ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his fundraiser, Antoin Rezko.
Cari, a lawyer and former director at Healthpoint Capital Partners, pleaded guilty in 2005 to a single count of attempted extortion, aiding a plot to demand a $850,000 kickback from JER Partners, which sought an $85 million commitment from the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System.
Cari assisted Stuart Levine, a trustee of the Illinois pension system who also was convicted in the scandal, in making a series of calls in 2004 to executives of JER Partners. He agreed to help after Levine said he would help him try to obtain business from other Illinois public pension funds, according to court filings. The firm, however, refused to pay.
Cari admitted to making threatening phone calls to JER, a private equity real estate firm. US District Judge Amy St. Eve imposed the sentence 9 August, which includes nine months of house arrest and a $50,000 fine.
Cari had been on supervised release since pleading guilty six years ago. Prosecutors had asked for a two-year prison sentence, but the defense made it clear how central Cari's cooperation was to piecing together the state corruption schemes that led first to Rezko, a Blagojevich fundraiser who still awaits sentencing, and then to the former governor.
When Cari pleaded guilty in 2005 to his role in the kickback scheme, federal court papers mentioned a “Public Official A” who was involved in a larger scandal involving campaign donations. Public Official A eventually was revealed to be Blagojevich, who was convicted of corruption, including bribery, attempted extortion and fraud.
Cari currently works as a consultant to a Middle East-focused merchant bank, according to court filings.