Monserrate Sentenced To 2 Years Behind Bars For Fraud (Updated)
And so ends – at least in the short term – the long and twisted tale of Hiram Monserrate.
The former state senator and New York City councilman will spend two years in prison for fraud offenses committed while he was a member of the Council related to his misappropriation of approximately $100,000 taxpayer dollars that he directed to a non-profit organization he controlled to fund his unsuccessful 2006 Senate campaign.
Monserrate was sentenced in Manhattan federal court today US District Judge Colleen McMahon. He pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy this past May.
“Hiram Monserrate helped to underwrite his political ambitions with money that was intended to benefit those in need, and he corrupted his office in the process,” said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.
“He stands in a long line of recent public officials whose crimes have undermined the public’s confidence in its elected officials. His sentence should serve as a reminder that public officials who break the law will be forced to answer to the public they betrayed, and they will be punished.”
This comes just over four years after the former Queens Democratic lawmaker was sentenced to three years probation, 250 hours of community service and 52 weeks of domestic abuse counseling (in other words, no jail time) after being found guilty on misdemeanor charges of abusing his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo.
That incident led to his expulsion from the state Senate in February 2010 – the first time in nearly a century that the Legislature has forced a member from office, and a move at least one of Monserrate’s allies (the last Amigo standing, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.) maintained was payback for his role in the 2009 Senate coup.
In 2005 and 2006, while he was a sitting councilman, Monserrate directed some $300,000 worth of discretionary funds to a nonprofit called Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment, better known as LIBRE. In 2006, he used approximately $100,000 of that cash to pay LIBRE staffers to work on his primary challenge to then-Sen. John Sabini.
Monserrate narrowly lost the September primary to Sabini that year, but he mounted another challenge to the sitting senator two years later. This time, with Sabini weakened by his poor performance in 2006 and a subsequent drunk driving arrest, the Queens Democratic Party dumped him in favor of Monserrate, who was easily elected in the general election.
In 2010, Monserrate tried to return to the Senate by running in a March special election for his old seat. He was soundly defeated by Sen. Jose Perralta, who has since launched his campaign for Queens borough president in 2013.
“With the sentencing of Hiram Monserrate today, we bring an end to a dark chapter in our community’s history. After Monserrate’s arrest, the people of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst voted overwhelmingly to elect leaders with integrity who will move beyond the corruption and criminal activity of the past.”
“We are a unified team of elected officials, and we will continue to work together to address the urgent problems facing working families, and to restore confidence in the ability of government to get things done and deliver lasting results.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on December 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm, and is filed under Hiram Monserrate, Queens, State Senate, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|