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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 1, 2016

Former NYS Deputy Secretary of State Indicted for Perjury, Failing to Pay Restitution

Castleton Man Accused of Lying Under Oath to Conceal his Failure to Comply with his Restitution Obligation

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Joseph Felix Strevell, age 54, of Castleton, New York, was arraigned today on an indictment accusing him of lying under oath to conceal his failure to pay restitution to New York State.

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico, and Andrew W. Vale, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: "Restitution is a mandatory obligation that no convicted felon should be able to walk away from. Joseph Strevell tried to shirk his restitution obligation and when my office took his deposition to find out about his ability to pay, he repeatedly lied under oath to an Assistant United States Attorney to cover his tracks. As a result, he has been indicted for perjury."

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said: "We will show no mercy for convicted criminals who fail to fulfill the obligations of their sentences, and this case proves that trying to cover your tracks by lying to law enforcement never works. I want to thank the State Police Special Investigations Unit, and our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, for their persistence in this case."

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

From 1997 to 1999, Strevell served as a Deputy Secretary of State for the State of New York. He left that position to serve as the head of the state-funded Institute for Entrepreneurship. In 2007, Strevell was convicted in federal court of defrauding New York State while leading the Institute. In March 2009, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York entered judgment against Strevell on this conviction, requiring him to pay $111,500 in restitution to his victim, New York State. The judgment required Strevell to pay restitution at a minimum rate of $100 per month or 10 percent of his gross monthly earnings, whichever was greater, and to pay full restitution immediately if at any time he had the resources to do so.

In December 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office deposed Strevell under oath to determine whether he was complying with his restitution obligation. According to the indictment, when questioned about how he was able to make a $75,440 down payment on a lease with an option to purchase a 138.55-acre horse farm in Rensselaer County in April and May 2013, Strevell falsely testified that his mother and aunt provided the majority of the funds used to make the down payment. In fact, according to the indictment, neither Strevell’s mother nor aunt contributed toward the down payment.

According to the indictment, Strevell also lied during that deposition about whether he had paid for his daughter’s wedding in May 2014. Strevell falsely testified that he contributed only "a couple thousand dollars" toward wedding expenses, but, according to the indictment, Strevell paid for most of the wedding, ultimately contributing more than $30,000 toward wedding expenses by paying at least one wedding vendor directly and transferring tens of thousands of dollars from his business to his daughter.

The indictment also alleges that Strevell failed to pay restitution each month as required by the 2009 judgment.

Strevell faces five felony counts of perjury and one misdemeanor count of defaulting on his restitution obligation. If convicted of perjury, Strevell faces a maximum of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release. If convicted on the misdemeanor charge, Strevell faces a maximum of one year in prison. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

Strevell was arraigned today in Albany, New York, before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel, and released pending a trial before United States District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe.

This case is being investigated by the New York State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey C. Coffman and Michael Barnett.

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated April 1, 2016