Criminal cases against 10 politicians and public officials
Over the past few years, prosecutors have charged Long Island politicians and public officials with crimes ranging from tax evasion to bribery. Some of these cases resulted in convictions, while others are ongoing. Follow Newsday’s latest coverage on the most prominent cases here.
(Last updated: March 16, 2018)
The County Executive
Charges: Conspiracy to commit federal program bribery; federal program bribery; conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud; honest services wire fraud; extortion; conspiracy to obstruct justice
Edward Mangano, Nassau’s county executive, was indicted in October 2016 and accused by federal prosecutors of receiving “bribes and kickbacks” from businessman Harendra Singh, who has pleaded guilty to providing them. Mangano’s wife, Linda, was charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements involving “work she claimed to have performed” in an alleged no-show job from Singh, according to the indictment and prosecutors. Both Manganos pleaded not guilty. Jury selection for their trial began March 12, 2018.
The latestMarch 19, 2018: Harendra Singh resumes testimony Monday in Edward Mangano trial March 17, 2018: Singh learned to make friends in Nassau politics March 16, 2018: Mangano, Venditto “circumvented” permit process, prosecutors allege
The District Attorney
Charges:Conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and obstruct an official proceeding; witness tampering and obstruction of an official proceeding; obstruction of justice; accessory after the fact to the deprivation of John Doe’s civil rights
Thomas Spota, the Suffolk County district attorney, was indicted in October 2017 on federal charges that he was involved in a cover-up of ex-Suffolk Police Chief James Burke’s 2012 assault of a suspect. U.S. attorneys say Spota, along with longtime aide Christopher McPartland, intimidated and pressured witnesses not to cooperate with federal investigators in order to protect Burke. Spota pleaded not guilty to the charges. A day after his plea, he announced he would leave the office he has held since 2002. His last day in office was Nov. 10, 2017.
The latestMarch 3, 2018: Editorial: Break up the game among Long Island political insiders Feb. 1, 2018: Suffolk agrees to settle Christopher Loeb’s lawsuit, officials say Jan. 26, 2018: Spota, former aide make brief court appearance in cover-up case>
The Town Supervisor
Federal charges: Conspiracy to commit federal program bribery; federal program bribery; conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud; honest services wire fraud; obstruction of justice; false statements. In a superseding indictment: One count of securities fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to securities offerings; and 19 counts of wire fraud related to securities offerings
State charges: Corrupt use of position or authority; official misconduct; conspiracy; defrauding the government
John Venditto, Oyster Bay supervisor, was indicted on federal charges in October 2016. Venditto pleaded not guilty and resigned in January. His trial started on March 12, 2018. In June 2017, the Nassau DA indicted Venditto, who prosecutors said was involved in a real-estate deal and orchestrating a hiring. Venditto pleaded not guilty. A superseding federal indictment was announced Nov. 21 adding 21 charges involving allegations of securities fraud.
The latestMarch 19, 2018: Harendra Singh resumes testimony Monday in Edward Mangano trial March 17, 2018: Singh learned how to make friends in Nassau politics March 17, 2018: Power on Trial: The world according to Singh
Charges: Wire fraud; tax evasion; making and subscribing false corporate tax returns; failure to file return
Edward Ambrosino, a Hempstead Town Board councilman, was indicted in March 2017 and accused of failing to pay more than $250,000 in federal taxes on income, much of which federal prosecutors said came from jobs performed for Nassau County. Prosecutors said Ambrosino, a lawyer, siphoned off money for two years to a company he incorporated and underreported his earnings. In the week following Ambrosino’s arrest, the county Industrial Development Agency and Local Economic Assistance Corp. dropped him as one of their attorneys. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The latestNov. 2, 2017: Pre-trial deadlines set in Edward Ambrosino tax-evasion case Oct. 17, 2017: Supervisor to return campaign donation from indicted councilman Sept. 8, 2017: Indicted town councilman has court appearance
The Police Chief
Convicted of: Deprivation of civil rights; conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice
James Burke, the Suffolk County Police Department’s former top uniformed officer, was indicted in December 2015 and charged by federal prosecutors with orchestrating an elaborate scheme to conceal his own crime. Burke, who was named Suffolk police chief in 2012, beat a handcuffed prisoner who had been charged with stealing a duffel bag from Burke’s police-issued vehicle, officials said. Burke pleaded guilty in February 2016 to conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and violating the victim’s civil rights and was sentenced in November 2016 to 46 months in prison. Burke has filed papers to appeal his sentence.
The latestFeb. 1, 2018: Suffolk agrees to $1.5M settlement in Loeb’s federal suit Dec. 23, 2017: Arc of Thomas Spota’s career marked by close relationship with police Nov. 27, 2017: Brown: Third time a charm for Suffolk top cop search?
The State Senator
Charges: Conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right; conspiracy to commit honest services fraud; extortion under color of official right; solicitation of bribes and gratuities
Dean Skelos, former Republican State Senate majority leader, was convicted in December 2015 of using his power to help his son, Adam, get jobs and payments from businesses. Federal prosecutors said the senator pressured three companies to give jobs, fees and benefits worth $300,000 to Adam, doing favors in Albany for the companies in return. He also intervened with Nassau County to help one of them on a contract, prosecutors said. His son was indicted on the same charges. In May 2016, Skelos was sentenced to 5 years, and his son was sentenced to 6½. In September 2017, an appeals court overturned the convictions. A retrial is set for June 2018.
The latestJan. 29, 2018: Judge orders Adam Skelos to mental health treatment Jan. 1, 2018: State readies for 5 corruption trials in 2018 Nov. 1, 2017: Vacating of Skelos conviction prompts finger-pointing
The Conservative party leader
Convicted of: Converts to own use property of another; fraud by wire, radio or television
Edward Walsh, then a lieutenant in the county sheriff’s office, golfed, gambled and politicked on the county’s dime, federal prosecutors said, while at the helm of Suffolk County’s Conservative Party. Walsh pleaded not guilty in March 2015 but was convicted in March 2016 for illegally collecting more than $200,000 in pay and overtime pay he didn’t earn. His conviction sparked a battle over leadership within the party he once led. In June 2017, Walsh was sentenced to 2 years in prison and was ordered to make $245,811.21 in restitution and forfeit an additional $245,811.21.
The latestMarch 3, 2018: Editorial: Break up the game among Long Island political insiders Jan. 17, 2018: Ruling: Suffolk party illegally filled positions Oct. 18, 2017: Edward Walsh, ex-Suffolk party leader, surrenders to prison officials
The Town Commissioner
Federal charges: Attempt to evade or defeat tax
State charges: Money laundering; defrauding the government; official misconduct; bribe receiving; receiving reward for official misconduct; theft of services.
Frederick Ippolito, an Oyster Bay town official, pleaded guilty in January 2016 to a federal tax evasion charge in connection with $2 million in outside consulting fees he received while working as the town’s planning and development commissioner. He resigned two days after his plea. He was sentenced in September 2016 to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $550,000 in restitution. Ippolito died in prison in June 2017. On Dec. 12, 2017, a federal appellate court vacated the conviction because he died while appealing his conviction. In June 2017, Ippolito was charged by Nassau County prosecutors; a judge ended that case in September 2017.
The latestDec. 12, 2017: Appeals court vacates Frederick Ippolito conviction, citing death Nov. 28, 2017: Oyster Bay Town seeks buyer for property in alleged bribery scheme Sept. 27, 2017: Judge abates corruption charges against the late Fred Ippolito
The Town Democratic leader
Convicted of: Felony tax fraud (state), tax evasion (federal)
Charges: Tax fraud (state); tax evasion (federal)
Gerard Terry, the former North Hempstead Democratic Party leader, was charged in April and August 2016 with tax fraud after Nassau prosecutors said he compiled more than $1.4 million in tax debts while receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in government work. He also was charged federally in February 2017 and pleaded not guilty. He resigned or was terminated from multiple public positions. In September 2017, Terry pleaded guilty in Nassau County to fourth-degree felony tax fraud. The judge set a sentencing hearing for November 2017. Terry pleaded guilty in October 2017 in federal court to tax evasion. He is scheduled to be sentenced in that case in February 2018.