Penn Credit Founder Pleads Guilty to Corruptly Providing Benefits to Public Officials

Donald Donagher Jr. the owner of a Pennsylvania debt-collection business has pleaded guilty to corruptly underwriting the expenses of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

Donagher who owned and was CEO of Harrisburg, Pa.-based PENN Penn Credit had a non-exclusive contract with Cook County to perform debt collection work.  

In March 2014 Donagher agreed to underwrite certain expenses for a Women’s History Month Celebration hosted by Brown.

Donagher admitted that he underwrote the expenses to reciprocate Brown’s choice to award them with debt collection work.

Donagher also reportedly tried to bribe the Orange, Brevard, and St. Johns’ clerks in 2019 by donating to their re-election campaigns and making contributions to their favorite charities in order to get awarded with collection contracts. 

Donagher was also suspected of having dealings with Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts Sharon Bock by funding her re-election campaigns in exchange for a no-bid contract to do debt-collection work in the county and to influence other clerks.

Federal prosecutors however agreed to drop bribery charges against him involving the Cook County clerk and the clerks of court in three other Florida counties: Orange, Brevard, and St. Johns, if he paid a $225,000 fine.

Bockhowever was not named in the indictment while there is no information if she is being investigated as well. 

U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee said Donagher’s sentencing will be on Jan. 21, 2022.

Brown, who has already stepped down last year and became a village administrator was part of a lengthy federal corruption probe centered on bribes-for-jobs allegations in her office.

Brown was never charged and denied any wrongdoing but two of her subordinates were. 

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