Sentencing for former Stillwater mayor Ken Harycki, convicted of federal tax evasion two years ago, has been delayed again.
If Harycki is sentenced as now scheduled in May, he will have spent nearly 2½ years awaiting his fate for defrauding the federal government over several years at his Stillwater accounting and payroll business.
Harycki’s guilty plea in January 2015 included a provision that he would give “substantial” assistance in the prosecution of co-conspirators Thurlee and Roylee Belfrey.
The trial for the twin brothers, indicted on charges of health care fraud and tax evasion, is scheduled to begin April 24. Only after completion of the Belfrey trial — and Harycki’s potential testimony against them — will the former mayor face U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery for sentencing.
Harycki’s attorney, Joseph Friedberg of Minneapolis, said this week that the delay “is way beyond the average,” but also said it’s the “usual course of business” for judges to evaluate trial testimony of cooperating witnesses before pronouncing sentences.
“It is the trial delay that has caused this and I am unaware of the reasons for delay, other than the fact that the court is undermanned and each judge is carrying about 600 cases,” Friedberg said.
Last year, U.S. Attorney Robert M. Lewis asked for a 37-month prison sentence for Harycki on grounds that he “has not rendered the assistance necessary” to prosecute the Belfreys.
Lewis declined to comment this week on the latest postponement, according to a spokesman for the federal office.
Harycki’s crimes occurred during most of the nearly eight years he served as Stillwater’s mayor, although criminal charges filed against him didn’t relate to his elected position.
He was first elected mayor in 2006, and resigned in late 2014.
He admitted to creating shell companies for the Belfreys’ home health care business, and he also incorporated a new company, MKH Holdings Inc., to hide money. Harycki’s crimes led to a tax loss of more than $2 million.