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Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Former Deputy Mayor Of The Village Of Spring Valley Pleads Guilty To Participating In Bribery Scheme

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSEPH DESMARET pled guilty today in White Plains federal court to participating in a scheme in which he accepted over $10,000 in cash bribes in exchange for his votes, as a member of the Spring Valley Board of Trustees, to sell Village land and steer a state-funded transportation contract to a real estate development company. DESMARET pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Bharara stated: “Every politician needs to understand that they hold office to serve the public, not themselves, and that those who violate the trust placed in them by the people do so at the risk of ending their careers behind bars. Serving the public is a great privilege and it should be treated as such.”

According to the Indictment and other documents filed in this case:

DESMARET accepted approximately $10,500 worth of cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent (“UC”) and a cooperating witness in exchange for his vote in favor of a sale of land owned by Spring Valley to a company he believed was controlled by the UC. In addition, DESMARET agreed to steer to the UC’s company New York State funding for road work associated with the project that he believed the UC’s company was developing.

DESMARET, 56, of Monsey, New York, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Karas on May 22, 2014. He faces a sentence of up to 40 years in prison and also faces restitution and forfeiture orders each in the amount of up to $10,500.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division and Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas B. Bloom and Justin Anderson are in charge of the prosecution.

Press Release Number: 
Updated May 13, 2015