NEW YORK, NY -- Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the filing of applications for orders forfeiting pension benefits, and the service of discovery requests seeking to locate benefits paid, regarding four former New York City Council and Yonkers City Council officials convicted of corruption offenses.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "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. 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."
As alleged in the applications and other court documents:
Former New York City Council members Miguel Martinez, Larry Seabrook, and Hiram Monserrate, and former Yonkers City Council member Sandy Annabi, were convicted of corruption offenses between 2009 and 2012. On December 15, 2009, Martinez was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment and ordered to forfeit $106,000. On January 8, 2013, Seabrook was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment and ordered to forfeit $418,252.53. On December 11, 2012, Monserrate was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment and ordered to forfeit $79,434.49. On November 19, 2012, Annabi was sentenced to 72 months’ imprisonment and ordered to forfeit $1,270,302.99. To date, none of these defendants has made a single payment toward their respective forfeiture obligations.
Martinez and Seabrook are currently vested members of the New York City Employee Retirement System. Seabrook currently receives benefits, while Martinez will be eligible to receive benefits when he reaches the age of 57. The Office has filed applications for orders forfeiting Martinez and Seabrook’s right to pension benefits until their forfeiture judgments are fully paid. Monserrate and Annabi are believed to have terminated their pension memberships and received payments as a result. The Office has served discovery requests on Monserrate and Annabi seeking to locate benefits that have been paid to them in order to satisfy the outstanding forfeiture judgments against them.
The prosecutions of these officials were handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit and its White Plains Division. The forfeiture of the defendants’ pensions is being handled by the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Paul Monteleoni is in charge of the forfeitures.
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