Chester County Judge Misused Campaign Contributions For Gambling and Personal Benefit

October 7, 2020 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—The 45th Investigating Statewide Grand Jury announced charges against a Chester County magisterial district judge for using $4,000 in campaign contributions for personal benefit, which included gambling at various casinos in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and violating campaign reporting requirements.

“Judge Cabry broke the law and undermined public trust in government by using campaign contributions for his own benefit, ” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Restricting how campaign money can be used helps prevent corruption. As a candidate and public official, Judge Cabry had a duty to serve with integrity and uphold the law, instead he took advantage of the trust placed in him by supporters and the public.”

In 2016, Cabry established the “Citizens for Cabry” political action committee (PAC) in order to collect and spend campaign donations in compliance with Pennsylvania campaign finance law. Cabry submitted several campaign finance reports related to this PAC, all of which were filed, sworn to, signed, and filed by Cabry in his capacity as a magisterial district judge.

Cabry failed to file campaign finance reports during the fall of 2017, despite dozens of purchases being made on the PAC’s debit card for groceries, laundry services, hotel stays, and more cash withdrawals at casinos. The Grand Jury’s review of Cabry’s campaign finance records also revealed that, in 2017 alone, Cabry visited the Delaware Park Casino at least once per week, and withdrew campaign funds on several of those visits. Many reports failed to include cash withdrawals used by Cabry to gamble at various casinos.

The Grand Jury found evidence that in 2017 Cabry used the debit card associated with the campaign account to make several purchases that were personal in nature and unrelated to his re-election campaign. Evidence presented to the Grand Jury also showed Cabry’s purchases with this card were submitted on his campaign finance reports in 2016 and 2017 despite being used for personal purchases. Cabry’s illegal purchases include several withdrawals made at casinos in three states and filed as reimbursements to Cabry in his campaign finance records:

  • An ATM withdrawal of $205 at Hollywood Casino in Dauphin County, PA
  • An ATM withdrawal of $205.99 at Harrah’s Casino in Chester County, PA
  • A withdrawal of $204.99 at Delaware Park Casino in Wilmington, DE
  • Three separate withdrawals totaling $751.98 in Ventnor, NJ, and Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City, NJ
  • A withdrawal of $200 at Dover Downs Casino in Dover, DE
  • A payment of $489.00 at a hotel in Dover, DE, on the same day as the withdrawal at Dover Downs

Cabry has been charged with theft and election code violations.

This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Megan Madaffari. The investigation was conducted in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Judicial Conduct Board. All charges discussed are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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