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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Manhattan Ex-Councilman Gets 5 Years for Stealing $100,000

Martinez, Ex-Councilman, Gets 5 Years for Stealing $100,000
The New York Times by RAY RIVERA - December 15, 2009

John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times- Miguel Martinez, once a rising star in Manhattan politics, was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday on three felony counts involving the misuse of public and private money, some of which was intended for nonprofit organizations. Mr. Martinez resigned abruptly from the City Council on July 14, as federal prosecutors prepared to file criminal charges against him. Two days later, he pleaded guilty to the three counts. “Judge, I stand before you remorseful and shamed for the offenses I committed,” a chastened Mr. Martinez told Judge Paul A. Crotty on Tuesday afternoon in Federal District Court in Manhattan. “I want to apologize to my family, my friends, my constituents in the 10th District, and to the institution of the New York City Council.”

Mr. Martinez added: “Getting elected to the City Council was one of the proudest achievements of my life. If I could change time, I would do things differently. However, I can’t do that, Your Honor.” Federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of 57 to 71 months. Judge Crotty sentenced Mr. Martinez to 60 months on each count, with the three sentences to run concurrently, along with two years of supervised release. Mr. Martinez also must pay $106,000 in restitution. Mr. Martinez admitted that throughout his time on the Council, beginning in 2002, he stole about $106,000, a large portion of which was intended for nonprofit groups, including $15,000 for the Washington Heights Art Center and $40,000 for the Upper Manhattan Council Assisting Neighbors. Mr. Martinez also admitted that he had approved fraudulent invoices submitted to his office in exchange for $51,000. “I was able to engage in these schemes because I was a New York City councilman,” Mr. Martinez said when he pleaded guilty. Mr. Martinez, a Democrat first elected in 2001, was the first councilman to be implicated in a two-year-long investigation by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan and the city’s Department of Investigation into the Council’s use of discretionary funds to support favored nonprofit groups. In March, investigators raided the offices of the Upper Manhattan Council Assisting Neighbors, a group founded in 1998 to help small businesses and underserved immigrant and Latino populations in Washington Heights and Inwood. It received little city support until 2006, after Mr. Martinez’s sister, Maria, joined the board in an unpaid position. Since then, it has received more than $1.4 million in City Council funds, including more than $400,000 sponsored directly by Mr. Martinez, according to Council records. Mr. Martinez, who represented Washington Heights and Inwood, took office in January 2002 and was chairman of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee, a post that added a $10,000 stipend to his $112,000 salary.


ex council employee said...

They all do it.... in different ways..... look deeper and you could completely bring down the house.

Anonymous said...

Non-profit for who? Non-profit for the people and much profit for all the hacks feeding at the trough. Where was the NY Times in reporting this? Where was the NY Post? Where was the Daily News? What reward do they receive for this cover-up?

Anonymous said...

he said it, councilman do it!
so they all do it!

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