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Manhattan US Attorney Adds Allegations Of Extortionate Acts To Charges Against State Assemblyman

LAWFUEL.COM – Legal Newswire –
LEV L. DASSIN, Acting United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that a federal grand
jury in Manhattan returned a Superseding Indictment late
yesterday which added allegations of extortionate acts to the
charges pending against ANTHONY SEMINERIO. SEMINERIO, who has
served as a member of the Assembly representing New York’s 38th
Assembly district in Queens since approximately 1978, was
previously charged in a criminal Complaint filed in Manhattan
federal court on September 9, 2008, and an Indictment on December
10, 2008, with defrauding the public of his honest services.
According to the Superseding Indictment filed yesterday
in Manhattan federal court and court documents previously filed
in this case:

From approximately 1999 through September 2008,
SEMINERIO defrauded the public of his honest services as a member
of the Assembly by using an alleged consulting firm, Marc
Consultants, to solicit and receive “consulting” payments from
persons and entities having business before the State of New
York. SEMINERIO, however, did little or no consulting work,
instead receiving approximately $1 million from various entities
with business before the State of New York, in connection with
his position as a member of the Assembly and with the performance
of his official duties, resulting in favorable treatment for
those entities in New York State Government. The entities that
made these payments included hospitals and related entities; a
consulting firm associated with an educational institution; and a
firm engaged in marketing supplemental insurance packages to
public institutions.

In 1999, SEMINERIO approached the founder of a
Queens-based consulting company (“the Consultant”) for whom he
had previously worked, and demanded fifty percent of the gross
receipts of the Consultant’s company. When the Consultant
resisted his demands, SEMINERIO retaliated by writing and calling
many of the Consultant’s clients, pressuring them to stop paying
the Consultant and instead hire SEMINERIO. As a result of
SEMINERIO’s actions, the Consultant’s company lost its client
base, and the Consultant terminated the political consulting
business.

In the summer of 1999, SEMINERIO repeatedly contacted
the president of a Queens, New York-based non-profit organization
(“the Executive”), whose organization substantially relied on New
York State funding. SEMINERIO asked the Executive to become a
client of Marc Consultants, asking repeatedly after the Executive
refused to respond. In January 2000, SEMINERIO met with the
Executive at SEMINERIO’s legislative office in Albany, New York,
and warned that if the Executive failed to hire him, SEMINERIO
would “kill” any bill the Executive tried to pass in Albany and
would ruin the relationship between the Executive and any
legislator working with him. After this meeting, the Executive
agreed to hire SEMINERIO. Explaining that he would not be a
“gavone” about the fee, SEMINERIO proposed a monthly fee of $700.
In the fall of 2004, on multiple occasions, SEMINERIO
asked a senior executive of a Queen-based hospital (“the Non-
Client Hospital) to retain Marc Consultants’ services. When the
hospital executive refused, SEMINERIO asked if the hospital
executive knew how miserable SEMINERIO could make the hospital
executive’s life.

On July 10, 2008, SEMINERIO called a senior New York
State health department official (“the Official”), assuring the
Official that he had “a friend of me (sic) in the Assembly.” The
Official mentioned that he had been speaking with a member of the
New York State Senate who supported the acquisition of certain
hospitals by the Non-Client Hospital, and SEMINERIO replied that
he would rather see another hospital (the “Client Hospital”) “get
it.” In response to the Official’s statement that the Non-Client
Hospital executive claimed to have capital backing for the
acquisition, SEMINERIO explained that the executive “never went
for three cents in 20 years I know him.” SEMINERIO did not
disclose to the Official that the Client Hospital had hired him,
but that the Non-Client Hospital had refused.

SEMINERIO, 74, of Queens, New York, faces a maximum
sentence of 20 years in prison. He is expected to be arraigned
on the superseding Indictment on March 26, 2009, at 2:15 p.m.
before United States District Judge NAOMI REICE BUCHWALD.
Mr. DASSIN praised the investigative work of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Public
Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys DANIEL L.
STEIN and WILLIAM J. HARRINGTON are in charge of the prosecution.
The charge contained in the Indictment is merely an
accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
09-072 ###

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