“Mr. Spano is yet another politician who, once again, betrayed the public’s trust and eroded the public’s faith in their political system.” — Prosecutor Perry Carbone
“The public is sick and tired of the powerful and fortunate not paying their fair share in taxes. And it also seems that the public is tired of politicians treating election to Albany not as an opportunity to serve the people, but an opportunity to line their pockets.” — Judge Cathy Seibel
By Barbara Leonard, reprinted with the kind permission of Courthouse News Service
MANHATTAN (CN) — A federal judge sentenced former New York state Sen. Nicholas Spano on Monday to a year and a day in prison for tax fraud.
Spano, 59, pleaded guilty in February to one count of obstructing and impeding the due administration of tax laws.
The Yonkers resident had represented New York’s 35th district in the state Senate from 1987 to 2006. His duties included approving the state’s operating budget, which included funding for the Office of General Services.
Prosecutors said a White Plains-based insurance company began paying Spano $1,500 a month to act as an outside consultant in 1993.
After the Office of General Services awarded that company a lucrative contract to become the state’s broker of record in 1996, Spano’s monthly retainer increased to $5,000. The payments jumped again to $6,000 a month in 1999. Between 2002 and 2008 when the company lost its state contract, it paid Spano $8,333.33 a month, or $100,000 a year.
For the last eight ears of their deal, Spano misrepresented these earnings and other sources of income to the Internal Revenue Service.
Prosecutors said Spano used a company he controlled called ONAPS, now known as HVM Corp., to receive the insurance company’s payments. While defrauding the IRS, Spano wrote more than $180,000 in checks from HVM to a real estate holding company he owned, 221 Ridge Ave. Corp., for nonexistent rental expenses.
This claim enabled HVM to make more than $180,000 in false tax deductions.
Spano also earned a $45,000 commission from the sale of a building to a White Plains real estate developer, but he failed to report that income in 2004. Some tenants paid Spano rent in cash between 2005 and 2006, and he never reported that either.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel handed down the sentence, which also includes a $30,000 fine and one year of supervised release.
More reading: “Jail for Ex-Westchester Legislator in Tax Case,” New York Times, June 18, 2012
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