Dec 17th - 12:25 pm
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is seeking forfeiture of public pension dollars to at least two politicians convicted of corruption, according to court papers filed Monday by his office.
At the same time, Bharara wants to determine whether former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate and former Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi cancelled their membership in the state pension system and
Bharara, the federal prosecutor for the southern district, wants to force ex-New York City Councilmen Larry Seabrook and Miguel Martinez to forfeit their pension beneifts.
In the cases of Annabi and Monserrate, he also filed discovery papers to determine whether they received any payments after leaving the system.
“With today’s actions, we aim to prevent corrupt elected officials from continuing to benefit from pensions paid for by the very people they betrayed in office,” Bharara said in a statement. “As I announced this fall, we are committed to using every legal tool to take the profit out of crime, and that includes preventing public money from being used to fund the comfortable retirement of corrupt officials. This is what justice and common sense require.”
Bharara, who has gained notoriety for several high-profile corruption arrests in the last year, had previously indicated he would try to halt pension payments to public officials found guilty of corruption.
The state’s Constitution prevents lawmakers from losing their pension benefits. An ethics measure approved in 2011 would strip those convicted of a felony, but it applies to officials elected after the law took effect.
Monserrate was exeplled from the state Senate in 2010 after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. In October 2010, he was indicted on federal corruption charges for funneling member item funds through a Queens social service agency.
Seabrook was convicted in 2012 of nine felony counts including money laundering, extortion, and fraud.
The letter to Judge Colleen McMahon requesting discovery of Monserrate’s pension status is below as is the order seeking to halt pension payments to Seabrook.
Sep 20th - 11:16 am
From the Capital Tonight morning memo, the second item:
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Department of Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky are scheduled to appear together on Jan. 27, sharing keynoting duties at a speech at a regulatory conference in New York City.
The topic for the discussion will be risk management in the financial services field (no word if George Costanza will also appear).
Bharara, when he’s not arresting Albany pols, also has jurisdiction over Wall Street and has netted more than a few white collar criminals for the Southern District.
Lawsky, whose department oversees banking and insurance, has been carving out a sphere for his office to include oversight of the pension fund.
He is also considered a protege of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.