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Deputy R.I. speaker gets 27 months for tax fraud

PROVIDENCE — The deputy speaker of the Rhode Island House was sentenced Friday to two years and three months in federal prison for tax fraud ­after admitting that he and a business partner attempt­ed to cheat the federal government out of more than $500,000.

Representative John ­McCauley, a Democrat from Providence, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and tax fraud charges in September.

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He and business partner William L’Europa admitted that they filed false tax returns for their insurance adjusting business to underreport nearly $1.8 million in income.

US District Court Chief Judge Mary Lisi also sentenced ­McCauley Friday to three years of supervised ­release and ­ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine. He must also pay what he owes to the IRS. L’Europa has also pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced Jan. 30.

A message left for McCauley’s lawyer was not immediately returned Friday.

Four other state lawmakers have faced criminal charges in the past year.

Senate majority leader Dominick Ruggerio, Democrat of North Providence, was charged with driving under the influence in April, but the charge was dropped when Ruggerio admitted refusing an alcohol test and agreed to perform community service.

Representative Robert ­Watson, Republican of East Greenwich, was arrested in January on a charge of marijuana possession.

Representative Leo Medina, Democrat of Providence, was arrested in October on charges of practicing law without a ­license.

In January, prosecutors dismissed a sexual assault case against Representative John Carnevale, Democrat of Providence, after the accuser died of medical causes. Carnevale had pleaded not guilty.

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