May 17, 2010 -- Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who was dubbed "America's Cop" for his leadership after Sept. 11, reported to a minimum-security federal prison camp in Cumberland, MD Monday to begin serving a four year sentence for tax fraud and lying to the White House.
Kerik left his New Jersey home in blue jeans and a tan jacket, the last outfit he'll freely choose for the next four years. Now, he'll be expected to wear a "khaki uniform with the shirt tail tucked in," according to the Bureau of Prisons.
Kerik said nothing to reporters as he left his New Jersey home this morning, but in a statement on his company's website, he said he was the victim of a "grave injustice" and claimed he pleaded guilty because he was "financially helpless."
Reporting for prison completes a stunning fall for someone whose reputation once took on heroic proportions following the attacks of September 11.
Prosecutors had alleged that Kerik, while New York City Correction Commissioner - a post he held prior to his appointment as Police Commissioner by Rudolph Giuliani - allowed a construction company to pay for renovations to his Bronx apartment in the hope that he would help the company obtain a city license.
Kerik pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax fraud and obstruction, including making false statements when he was vetted to be Secretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration. The crimes called for a sentence of two to three years but Judge Stephen C. Robinson in White Plains, NY sentenced Kerik to more than that because of "the almost operatic proportions of this case."
Kerik's statement said he hoped the sentence would be "remedied by an appellate court."
His time at FCI Cumberland begins with a medical screening and a psychological evaluation. He'll be required to work either in landscaping, food service, plumbing or other such occupation and will live in dormitory style housing and sleep in a bunk bed.