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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Cohoes Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Steal Political Campaign Contributions

BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK – Ralph V. Signoracci, IV, age 44, of Cohoes, New York, was sentenced today to serve a one-year term of probation and 100 hours of community service after previously pleading guilty to conspiring with Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse to defraud Morse’s supporters by stealing campaign contributions for Morse’s personal benefit.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Signoracci, while a member of the City of Cohoes Common Council and then an Albany County Legislator, served as treasurer of a political committee called “Friends of Shawn Morse,” from approximately November 2013 through January 2019.  He also served as treasurer of the political action committee “The Chairman’s PAC.” 

In pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, Signoracci admitted that he and Morse solicited and received contributions to the committees.  Signoracci, at Morse’s direction, withdrew funds from the committees’ bank accounts so that Morse could use the funds to pay for his personal expenses, including vacations, entertaining, dining, and home repairs.  Signoracci also admitted to illegally using contributions made to The Chairman’s PAC to directly benefit Morse’s 2015 mayoral campaign. 

Signoracci admitted that on behalf of Morse, he concealed the nature of these expenditures by falsely reporting the purpose of the expenditures or by not reporting or disclosing them on campaign disclosure reports, as was required of local candidates for public office. 

Morse pled guilty to wire fraud in August; his sentencing is scheduled for January 7, 2020 in Albany.

This case was investigated by the FBI, and was prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Kinsella Kistler and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Hanlon. 

Financial Fraud
Public Corruption
Updated November 20, 2019