Local News

Rutland attorney heading to prison

By Alan Keays, VTDigger

A longtime Rutland attorney has been sentenced to seven months behind bars for understating income on his federal taxes.

John Canney III, 63, was sentenced Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Burlington. In addition to the seven-month jail term, Judge Christina Reiss also ordered that Canney pay a $15,000 fine and serve one year of supervised release.

He was given until Nov. 14 to begin serving his sentence.

Tristram Coffin, Canney’s attorney, asked Reiss, and she agreed, to recommend to the federal Bureau of Prisons that his client serve his jail sentence in the minimum-security “camp” In Fort Devens, Mass, which is the closest such facility to Vermont.

His attorney asked that Canney be spared jail time, while prosecutors sought a nine-month prison term.

Canney pleaded guilty in June to federal charges of filing false individual and corporate tax returns over a four-year period, starting in the 2010 tax year. As part of a plea agreement, the prosecutor and his attorney have agreed the tax loss is between $100,000 and $250,000.

Canney is the sole owner of John R. Canney III, P.C., a law firm on Merchants Row in Rutland. His law license has been suspended. He had practiced law in Rutland more than 30 years.

Canney, who hasn’t spoken publicly about the charges, addressed the judge for about 20 minutes Friday in court.

He stood, at times putting his hands on the defense table in front of him to steady himself, and talked in a soft voice barely audible in the courtroom.

“I can’t tell you how sorry I am,” he said to the judge. Canney said he had “embarrassed” himself and his family. “It was a really dumb thing to do.”

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