Ex-NY Comptroller Hevesi charged with corruption in state pension fund scandal

By Jennifer Peltz, AP
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ex-NY comptroller charged with corruption

NEW YORK — Former New York state Comptroller Alan Hevesi has been charged with felony corruption in a “pay-to-play” scandal at the state pension fund.

A law enforcement official close to the case says Hevesi is expected to plead guilty later Thursday. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plea has not been made yet.

The Democrat was arraigned Thursday morning in a Manhattan court on a charge of receiving reward for official misconduct.

Hevesi controlled the multibillion-dollar pension fund until his resignation in 2006 when he pleaded guilty to a felony for using state workers to chauffeur his wife.

Associated Press Writer Michael Gormley contributed to this report.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Former New York state Comptroller Alan Hevesi has turned himself in and will plead guilty to a felony corruption charge for taking gifts while running the state’s multibillion dollar pension fund, a person close to the investigation told The Associated Press.

The plea marks the culmination of a years-long probe of payoffs made in exchange for pension fund investments. Hevesi controlled the pension fund until his resignation in 2006, when he pleaded guilty to a felony for using state workers to chauffeur his wife.

The law enforcement official said Hevesi turned himself in to law enforcement officials early Thursday and was to appear before the same judge who has handled other pleas in the case. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the plea had not been made yet.

The official says the charge accuses Hevesi of accepting rewards and gifts for official misconduct.

Bradley D. Simon, Hevesi’s lawyer, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s reached a million-dollar settlement with Bill White, a former president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City who raised funds for Hevesi. That was the latest in a series of prosecutions, pleas and agreements leading up to Hevesi’s plea.

The man prosecutors have said was at the heart of the scheme, former Hevesi political adviser Hank Morris, has pleaded not guilty to corruption, securities fraud and other charges.

Morris is accused of taking kickbacks to help steer billions of dollars in pension fund investments to favored companies. In court papers, he said the 123 charges should be dismissed because he was involved in the “long-standing” practice of using political connections to obtain access to public assets and that it wasn’t illegal.

The attorney general’s office replied that claiming everybody does it is no defense. Morris’ year-old case is still pending in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

David Loglisci, who had been the pension fund’s chief investment officer, pleaded guilty in March to a securities fraud charge, admitting he helped channel pension funds to investment firms that paid kickbacks to other officials to get the business.

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