A once-towering state senator from Philadelphia returned to his own home late Tuesday night after serving four years in federal prison for fraud and just an hour or so in a halfway house where he was expected to stay for six months.
NBC10 cameras captured Vincent Fumo arriving back at his Fairmount section of Philadelphia mansion Tuesday night. Yellow ribbons and happy-face balloons adorned the front of the home.
Fumo's stay at home seems to be permanent for now after he was granted home confinement following a brief check-in at the Erie Avenue halfway house in the Juniata Park section of the city.
Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said that once released from custody a prisoner still under federal custody has a certain amount of time to check-in to a halfway house. All federal prisoners are eligible for halfway house confinement for his/her last year in custody at the discretion of the board of prisons.
Fumo, 70, was granted that release for his final six months of confinement. It's then up to the halfway house to decide how long a prisoner will stay unless something was already worked out, Burke said.
With no deal worked out, Fumo arrived at the halfway house where he was slated to stay. He was spotted arriving at the house around 8 p.m. He left about an hour later, apparently with something worked out for him to return to his mansion on Green Street.
Burke didn't say why the decision for home confinement was made and he couldn't say if Fumo will be wearing an electronic monitoring system.
He is still not a free man. At certain times Fumo will need to check-in to the halfway house to fill out paperwork, participate in programs, etc. and must not drink alcohol or do drugs but for the most part he will be living and working out of his mansion.
Fumo is slated to work for his defense lawyer, Dennis Cogan, for his work-release job, although he can no longer practice law. Fumo will earn $10 a hour. Cogan declined comment Monday.
Fumo, a Philadelphia Democrat, was released from federal prison in Kentucky Tuesday morning. He left shortly after 9 a.m. and embarked on a nine-hour drive back to Philadelphia. He was incarcerated in Ashland, Ky., since 2009, when a jury convicted him of stealing $4.2 million from the state, a museum and a South Philadelphia neighborhood group.
The wealthy lawyer and banking heir was in Pennsylvania politics for 30 years, controlling hundreds of jobs in and out of government.
His legal battles are far from over. All three of his adult children are estranged, and the youngest has sued over Fumo's use of her trust fund.
The IRS is seeking millions, and federal prosecutors want him to pay another $800,000 in restitution, above the $3.5 million he's paid so far.
Before his release it was revealed that Fumo could be released early from the halfway house to return to his downtown mansion permanently. At the time of his trial, he also owned homes in Florida and New Jersey, along with a farm near Harrisburg.
Federal prosecutors had sought a sentence of more than 10 years for Fumo, but U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter departed from sentencing guidelines.
"He served the sentence that the judge thought was appropriate,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Zauzmer said Monday. "We wish Mr. Fumo well. We hope and trust that he will obey the law.''