The disgraced Washington lobbyist picked up his final paycheck from Tov Pizza on Dec. 3, owner Ron Rosenbluth said Monday. That was his official release date from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. He’s now serving three years of probation.
Abramoff was released from federal prison June 8 but was on home confinement until the official end of his four-year sentence for fraud, corruption and conspiracy. He wore an electronic monitoring bracelet.
After his release, he was sent to a halfway house that hooked him up with a job at Tov Pizza, a modest kosher pizzeria in a heavily Jewish section of northwest Baltimore. Abramoff, 51, is an Orthodox Jew and wore a yarmulke to work.
Rosenbluth told The Associated Press that he enjoyed his time working with Abramoff, who developed marketing and customer outreach strategies.
“Obviously we’re dealing with a tough economy. I was able to get some of his expertise in marketing,” Rosenbluth said. “It was interesting; it was nice. He was very helpful.”
While Abramoff is under no obligation to continue working at Tov Pizza, Rosenbluth said he might stop by occasionally as he pursues other employment opportunities.
Abramoff was sentenced in 2006 to nearly six years for a fraudulent casino deal. He got a concurrent four-year sentence in 2008 for conspiring to defraud the government, corrupting public officials and defrauding his clients in a separate case.
Abramoff cooperated with the Justice Department after his convictions, helping explain how he manipulated government decisions and who else was involved.
The scandal led to the convictions of 20 people, including former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who acknowledged taking bribes from Abramoff, and David Safavian, the former chief procurement officer in President George W. Bush’s administration, along with several congressional aides.
Abramoff once charged his clients $750 an hour and entertained them with free meals worth thousands of dollars at Signatures, his Pennsylvania Avenue restaurant. At Tov Pizza, frequented by conservative and Orthodox Jewish families from Baltimore and nearby Pikesville, a slice of cheese pizza costs $2.26.
But the notorious temporary employee had little trouble fitting in.
“He got along really well with everybody working here,” Rosenbluth said.