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Ex-Kilpatrick aide strikes plea deal

DETROIT, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Emma Bell, who had been a longtime fundraiser for ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and agreed to testify against Kilpatrick.

Bell, 66, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to not paying taxes on more than $500,000 from Kilpatrick fund-raisers, the Detroit Free Press reported.

As part of a plea deal, she agreed to cooperate in the racketeering case against Kilpatrick and pay $334,236 in taxes and $80,000 in fines.

"Your honor, I received money, and I did not pay taxes on it," Bell told U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds. "That was a stupid thing on my part, and I apologize to the court, but I am guilty."

The plea agreement reveals Bell received a 15 percent commission on money she raised for Kilpatrick's non-profit groups, but then split the commission checks with Kilpatrick, the Free Press said.

Bell is identified only as the "fundraiser" in a Kilpatrick racketeering case who allegedly gave more than $286,000 in cash kickbacks to Kilpatrick between 2003 and 2008. In that case, Kilpatrick, his father and three others are charged with running a criminal enterprise to enrich themselves.

Bell faces up to 18 months in prison, but prosecutors have offered to cut the term in half, depending on her cooperation, the Free Press said.

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