FEBRUARY 05, 2010
A prominent New York politician who served in the state assembly for three decades is the latest on a growing list of corrupt state lawmakers who in recent years have been convicted of crimes or forced to quit by allegations of wrongdoing.
Democrat Anthony Seminerio will go to jail for six years for operating a massive, decade-long bribery scheme in which he shook down individuals and organizations doing business with the state. The popular and highly influential legislator, who represented southwest Queens, took at least $1 million in exchange for actions he took as a public official.
The FBI has wiretaps of Seminerio, who regularly used profanity to accentuate his thug-like antics, referring to himself as a sort of mafia “godfather” and bluntly asking for a bribe from a health executive who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for his influence in the state legislature. A lot of the money was funneled through a “consulting” firm Seminerio created years ago.
At his sentencing this week, a Manhattan federal judge chastised the disgraced politician, reminding him that he “decided to take a piece of the action.” The judge described in detail how the corrupt lawmaker “accepted bribes and engaged in extortion as part of a decade-long scheme to use his office—both literally and figuratively—for personal gain and at the expense of the public trust.”
Just few months ago another veteran New York politician, former senate majority leader Joseph Bruno, was convicted for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. The Republican legislator also abused his position as one of New York’s most powerful political leaders to make millions more in “consulting fees” that he failed to disclose.
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