In 2008, federal prosecutors alleged the pushy Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio had received approximately $1 million in payments from hospitals, insurance companies and other clients in exchange for obtaining state business for them. The Queens Assemblymember had set up his own firm, Marc Consulting, to accept the cash.
Seminerio claimed the fees were for consulting. But prosecutors charged he wasn’t performing “any bona fide consulting services that fall outside the scope of activities an elected official could readily be expected to perform on behalf of his or her constituents.” That’s a mouthful, huh?
Seminerio was aggressive in shaking down clients. He “warned the president of a large not-for-profit organization that he would personally ‘kill’ any bill the president tried to pass in Albany” until he paid Marc Consulting a monthly retainer for two years. Sounds like an honest leader to us!
He pleaded guilty to a single fraud count in 2009 for influence peddling. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald sentenced him to six years in prison in February 2010 for “defrauding people of New York of his honest services as an Assemblyman in the New York State Legislature.” He was also ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.
See that, kids? Crime doesn’t pay.