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Holding Corrupt Public Officials Accountable

Holding Corrupt Public Officials Accountable

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Holding Corrupt Public Officials Accountable

The Office investigates and prosecutes public officials for crimes such as quid pro quo bribery, embezzlement of public funds, and other criminal offenses perpetrated by public officials, law enforcement officers, and others.  Recent prosecutions include:

  • Michael Cohen Convicted of Campaign Finance Crimes, Tax Evasion and Fraud: In August 2018, Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to the President, pleaded guilty to a multi-count information.  Of note, Cohen pleaded guilty to making unlawful, excessive contributions to the 2016 presidential campaign in the form of payments to two women to secure their silence regarding the then-presidential candidate in order to prevent their stories from influencing the election.  Cohen also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion in connection with his concealment of millions of dollars in income from the IRS and to making false statements to a financial institution.  In December 2018, Cohen was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment.
  • Nine Defendants, Including Joseph Percoco, Former Executive Deputy Secretary to the Governor, and Alain Kaloyeros, President Of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Convicted of Federal Corruption and Fraud Offenses: In September 2016, the Public Corruption Unit unsealed charges against two high-ranking State officials, businessmen, and a corrupt lobbyist relating to multiple significant criminal schemes affecting in the aggregate nearly $1 billion in State funds.  In the first scheme, one of the most powerful men in New York State’s executive department – Joseph Percoco, the Executive Deputy Secretary to the Governor – accepted bribe payments from a large energy company and a real estate development company for his influence and action on multiple significant State decisions.   In the second scheme, Alain Kaloyeros, a public university president who was given vast control by the Governor’s office over State economic development projects, engaged in a bid-rigging scheme involving the Governor’s centerpiece economic development initiative – known as the Buffalo Billion – conspiring with businessmen to rig the bidding process for State-funded projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  After two trials, as well as guilty pleas, Percoco, Kaloyeros, five businessmen, and the lobbyist were convicted.   Percoco was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.  Kaloyeros was sentenced to 42 months’ imprisonment.  The defendants’ appeals are pending.
  • Four New York City Police Department Officers Convicted of Bribery in Connection with Approving Gun Licenses: Between 2017 and 2019, the Public Corruption Unit successfully prosecuted four officers from the NYPD’s License Division for accepting bribes to approve, upgrade and expedite gun licenses, including of individuals who would otherwise have been rejected on account of their criminal history.  The bribes included cash, sometimes handed over in envelopes or stuffed between pages of a magazine, luxury travel, and other gifts.  In addition to approving and expediting gun licenses, the bribed officers often upgraded gun licensees to have full concealed carry rights in New York City without the proper justification.  Those charged and convicted included Lieutenant Paul Dean, the former Executive Officer of the License Division, who was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment.  Also convicted were four former "expediters" — including a former Assistant District Attorney — who charged clients a fee to help obtain gun licenses by bribing the officers”.   
  • Former New York State Assembly Speaker Convicted at Trial: In May 2018, Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly, was convicted following a two-week trial on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, extortion under color of official right, and engaging in illegal monetary transactions all arising out Silver’s improper use of his position. Silver's trial was a retrial that occurred after the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed his original conviction. The evidence at trial showed that Silver used his office position to obtain significant bribes in exchange for his official acts and that he obtained still more money through laundering the proceeds of his crimes.  In January 2020, the Second Circuit affirmed Silver’s conviction on four of the counts of conviction, while reversing his conviction on the other three counts and remanding the case for resentencing.    
  • Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Convicted at Trial: In July 2018, Dean Skelos, the former New York State Senate Majority Leader, and his son, Adam Skelos, were convicted on charges of bribery and extortion.  The conviction resulted from a retrial that occurred after the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed his original conviction. The evidence at trial showed that Dean Skelos used his position to obtain more than $300,000 in bribes and extortion payments that were made to Adam Skelos.  Dean Skelos received a sentence of 51-months imprisonment, and Adam Skelos received a sentence of four years’ imprisonment.  

         Prosecuting Local Corruption

  • Former College of New Rochelle Controller Convicted: Keith Borge, the former Controller for the College of New Rochelle, pleaded guilty in 2019 to engaging in a 20 million dollar payroll tax fraud and securities fraud scheme.  Borge failed to pay over to the IRS over 20 million dollars in payroll tax and covered up the resulting liability on the college's financials. The college’s bondholders were defrauded by the false financial statements.  His scheme contributed to the college's bankruptcy and closure.  Borge received a sentence of three years’ imprisonment.
  • Ramapo Town Supervisor Convicted at Trial:  Christopher St. Lawrence, the former Ramapo Town Supervisor, engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in Ramapo’s municipal bonds by manipulating the Town’s financial statements to create the appearance that the Town was fiscally sound.  He did so in order to obtain the financing he needed to build Palisades Credit Union Park, a 3,500-seat minor league baseball stadium in Ramapo, at a cost of more than $60 million.  He was found guilty at trial in May 2017 and sentenced to 30 months in prison. St. Lawrence’s conviction marked the first-ever prosecution for accounting fraud in connection with municipal bonds. 




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