Canton Businessman Ben Suarez Sentenced to Prison

Ben Suarez outside the Louis B. Stokes federal courthouse in June.
Ben Suarez outside the Louis B. Stokes federal courthouse in June.
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Three years ago the Toledo Blade published an article wondering how more than a dozen employees of Suarez Corporation Industries could afford to collectively donate 100 thousand dollars to each the Renacci and Mandel campaigns. The FBI began investigating but then reported that Ben Suarez was hampering the investigation by sending what prosecutors argued was a coercive letter to one employee Barbara Housos just before she was to testify to the grand jury.

In the federal courtroom of Judge Patricia Gaughan in Cleveland today (Friday) Suarez made his first statement to the court. He said he was only trying to warn Housos not to admit to a crime that she did not commit. Although he has battled with state and federal regulators for 40 years, he said he does believe in law and order and is not a scofflaw.

His lawyer argued that the 73 year old Suarez is too old to “spend time in a cage” and that his company with 300 area employees might not survive. He wanted Suarez set free. Prosecutors, on the other hand, were asking 8 years.

In the end, judge Gaughan sentenced Suarez to 15 months plus a $15 thousand dollar fine. Gaughan said the defendant showed no remorse and displayed an “arrogant disregard for the rule of law.“ She said even his statement to the court did not square with the facts and a message must be sent that “money and power will not render special treatment. “

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