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Consumer Reports

House takes back some Traficant goodies | (UPI) -- Convicted former Rep. James Traficant's wife and daughter auctioned off dozens of possessions during the weekend but the U.S. House seized several items officials said were taken from the disgraced congressman's office without authorization.

A spokesman for the House Administration Committee said Monday the General Services Administration had taken possession of a conference table, six chairs, an end table and a coat rack for which there was no evidence Traficant had paid.

The provenance of a marble-top, walnut desk and chair, however, could not be determined and the Traficants were allowed to sell them, the spokesman said.

"We not accusing Traficant of stealing anything," the spokesman said. "In the course of office moves, especially in these circumstances, these things happen. We are pleased to have the property of the House back."

The spokesman said the House did not plan any further investigation.

Traficant, an Ohio Democrat first elected to Congress in 1984, was expelled in July, following his conviction on racketeering and other charges.

A spokesman for the Jeff Anglin Auction Facility refused to say how much money the Traficants raised at Sunday's auction but did say everything offered was sold. The items had been stored in a garage on Traficant's 76-acre horse farm.

Traficant owes more than $250,000 in fines, penalties and back taxes stemming from his conviction on charges of taking bribes, kickbacks and other gifts during his congressional career. U.S. District Judge Kathleen O'Malley last week signed a notice of continuing garnishment, enabling federal prosecutors to seize the auction proceeds.

Traficant was sentenced to eight years in prison. In addition to the prison time, his sentence included a $150,000 fine and $1,000 assessment. The jury also concluded he owes the government a $96,000 forfeiture. In addition, first assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Edwards said Traficant owes $19,580 in unpaid taxes.

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