NEWARK, NJ - A federal judge gave the wife of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka an additional year of probation after she admitted to violating the home confinement portion of a three-year sentence for filing a false income tax return.
Linda Jumah, the co-founder of a political consulting firm that has worked on Baraka's campaign, said in federal court in Newark on Wednesday she violated certain conditions of home confinement by returning to her residence later than certain authorized outings allowed.
Jumah's attorney, Robert Stahl, and federal prosecutors agreed before the hearing to extend Jumah's probation by six months for the violations.
But U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton decided to extend probation further to one year because she was concerned the violations occurred within the first month of Jumah's home confinement after her sentencing in March 2018.
Wigenton said she intended to impose a sentence that was sufficient but "not over the top" when it came to making a point about how seriously offenders should take probation terms.
"They're not a suggestion," Wigenton said.
Stahl said Jumah had "issues" returning home in time from certain events in part because she did not hold a "typical 9-5 job." Stahl told the judge he would not go into the details of what made it difficult for Jumah to return on previously agreed upon times.
"She is certainly apologetic," Stahl said.
Stahl confirmed after the hearing Jumah currently works as the chief of staff for a member of the state Assembly.
Jumah pled guilty in November 2017 to federal tax evasion charges for underreporting a six-figure salary she earned in 2015 that resulted in a nearly $40,000 tax loss. She had also been ordered to pay more than $19,000 in restitution to the IRS in addition to a $20,000 penalty.
The false tax report was filed in 2015, the same year Jumah's political consulting firm organized Baraka's $1,000-per-plate inaugural ball. Records show her firm received at least $65,000 in consulting fees from Baraka’s campaign from July 2015 to April 2017.
The couple married in March.