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Justice News

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

Former NYS Deputy Secretary of State Pleads Guilty to Perjury

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Joseph Felix Strevell, age 55, of Castleton, New York, pled guilty today to repeatedly lying under oath at a December 2014 deposition where he was questioned about his ability and efforts to pay court-ordered restitution to New York State.


The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II, and Andrew W. Vale, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said: “Strevell repeatedly lied under oath to an Assistant United States Attorney about his ability and efforts to pay restitution ordered as part of his 2009 mail fraud conviction.  Court-imposed restitution is a mandatory obligation, and we will aggressively investigate every felon who tries to avoid compensating victims.”


FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale said: “Strevell attempted to victimize the State of New York twice. First, through fraud and again through perjurious statements about the source of his funds. Thanks to the efforts of the New York State Police and our law enforcement partners, Strevell will be held accountable for his actions.”


From 1997 to 1999, Strevell served as a Deputy Secretary of State for the State of New York.  He left that position in December 1999 to serve as the head of the state-funded Institute for Entrepreneurship, which he led until July 2001.  In 2007, Strevell pled guilty in federal court to defrauding New York State while leading the Institute, including by using Institute funds to give himself a $95,000 lump-sum raise without the approval of the Institute’s Board of Directors, and by improperly using Institute funds to pay for his and his family’s personal expenses.


In March 2009, U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe 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 Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office deposed Strevell under oath to determine whether he was complying with his restitution obligation.  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, neither Strevell’s mother nor aunt contributed toward the down payment.


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 in fact Strevell paid for most of the wedding, contributing more than $30,000 toward wedding expenses, including by paying $10,435 in cash to one wedding vendor directly and transferring tens of thousands of dollars from his business to his daughter. 


Strevell faces a maximum of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release when he is sentenced in March by Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy.  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.


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

Updated November 4, 2016