Federal Prosecutors 6 for 6 in Corridor of Corruption
Mayor Noramie Jasmin’s “The-devil-made-me-do-it” defense Fails—Found Guilty of Bribery, Extortion and Wire Fraud—Faces up to 40 Years in Prison
April 21, 2015 Noramie Jasmin’s defense was, at best, a two-legged stool. Her attorney complained that the Monsey developer Moses (Mark) Stern had entrapped his client, and that there were no good reasons for federal charges to be brought against her. Both tactics failed because the developer (the “Devil”) was wearing a wire for the FBI, and somehow Jasmin forgot about the interstate nature of some of the events.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara offered the following explanation in his remarks today about the conviction his prosecutors won:
“This office is committed to ensuring the integrity of New York public officials at all levels and wherever they may be. Today, I announce the conviction of yet another corrupt elected official who failed to live up to her oath of office. Former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin used her official position to influence a construction project on a parcel of public land, and she accepted bribes, including a secret fifty percent share of the project, to do so. Like all citizens, the residents of Spring Valley deserved an honest mayor, not one who worked behind closed doors and behind their backs to sell public land and public office for private gain. I want to thank the FBI, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and the Spring Valley Police Department for their outstanding work on this important investigation.”
“According to the Complaint and the Indictment filed in federal court and the evidence presented at trial:
NORAMIE JASMIN was sworn in as Mayor of the Village of Spring Valley, New York, in December 2009. From September 2011 through April 2013, JASMIN accepted bribes from an undercover FBI agent (the “UC”) and a cooperating witness working with the Government (the “CW”), on multiple occasions in exchange for official acts. The bribe scheme centered on the development of a community center in the Village of Spring Valley whose construction costs were expected to be at least $12 million. In exchange for her vote in favor of a sale of land owned by Spring Valley to a company she believed was controlled by the UC, JASMIN demanded a secret ownership stake in the company. JASMIN also asked for an advance on her profits from the scheme and accepted a $5,000 cash payment from the CW. In support of the scheme, JASMIN directed the UC to find people to pose as bidders for the project so that the transaction would appear legitimate to the other members of the Spring Valley Board of Trustees who voted on the sale. Over the course of two days, JASMIN met the UC and two other undercover FBI agents posing as straw bidders (the “Straw Bidders”) in hotel rooms and instructed the Straw Bidders on how to make a presentation before the Spring Valley Board of Trustees such that the Straw Bidders would lose their purported bids on the land sale. JASMIN then presided over the presentations made by the company in which she had a secret financial stake and the fake presentations that she had helped prepare. The following day, JASMIN presided over a Village Board of Trustees meeting, during which she asked the Board for permission to negotiate the sale of Village land to the UC’s company and then voted with a “strong yes” to grant herself that permission. When questioned as to why the Board needed to vote to grant her that permission, JASMIN remarked that she “cannot sit behind closed doors with a developer to negotiate on behalf of the Board,” precisely what she did in the days preceding that vote.”
The final accounting for this phase of the local investigations then is a sweep: six charged, and every case has resulted in a conviction or a plea bargain. Here’s a review of the related cases.
There were six politicians charged in an FBI sweep that came to be known as the Corridor of Corruption round-up two years ago, in April 2013. Today, the sixth, and final case, was resolved in court. United States Attorney Preet Bharara has won every case his agency brought. The convictions, so far, have resulted in prison terms of up to 150 years for the five found guilty plus whatever Mayor Jasmin might be given in August, when she is scheduled for sentencing.
Malcolm Smith—New York State Senator
FOUND GUILTY February 5, 2015 of a $200,000 bribery scheme to get on the ballot for Mayor of New York City. Faces up to 45 years in prison.
Vincent Tabone—Queens Republican Party Vice Chair
FOUND GUILTY in the Malcolm Smith scheme. Faces up to 25 years.
Daniel Halloran—New York City Councilman
FOUND GUILTY of 5 counts of corruption, including fraud and bribery. On March 4, 2015 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Kenneth Karas who was especially offended by consecutive days of perjury on the stand by Halloran.
Joseph (Jay) Savino—Bronx Republican Party Chair
On November 12, 2013, he PLEADED GUILTY to bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud. He faced up to 30 years in prison when he agreed to serve as a cooperating witness against Smith, Halloran, Tabone, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmine, and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret. Savino has been disbarred and is awaiting sentencing.
Joseph Desmaret—Deputy Mayor in Spring Valley
On January 29, 2014, the Spring Valley Deputy Mayor PLEADED GUILTY in U.S. District Court to accepting more than $10,000 in bribes to enable a developer’s (Moses Stern) project in Spring Valley. Desmaret is scheduled for sentencing May 22, 2015, and he faces nine years in prison.
Noramie Jasmin—Spring Valley Mayor
On April 20, 2015, Judge Colleen McMahon read guilty verdicts for one count of mail fraud and one count of extortion. The prescribed sentence for each of these charges is a maximum 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Jasmin will return to court on August 7, 2015, at which time she will find out what her sentence will be.
On to Ramapo
We have the following indicators for the next stage of the local political clean-up. The Corridor of Corruption action took two years with the first arrests announced in April 2013. Now with the docket cleared, we are hearing rumblings about ramped up investigations and interviews in Ramapo. Last week, the Ramapo Town Board, at a regular meeting, passed a resolution for legal defense funds for officials in the Town of Ramapo, should they need them.
The eight-hour FBI raid on Ramapo Town Hall occurred one month after the arrest of the Corridor of Corruption gang. That was in May, two years ago. There were further “requests” for information/evidence, including a relatively recent subpoena for documents issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was fulfilled by Ramapo Town personnel. The Corridor/Spring Valley Six are now wrapped up, and we should be entering Chapter 2 of the Corridor of Corruption—Ramapo.
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