Vincent Leibell held state office for 28 years representing Putnam, Westchester, Dutchess counties and was known as “Uncle Vinnie” because of his ability to obtain member items that benefited his district. Translation: he pushed people around and got what he wanted. Just before he was charged, he had won election as Putnam County Executive but never began the term because of his conviction.
After investigations by the FBI and IRS in 2010, a federal grand jury accused Uncle Vinnie of extorting money from Putnam County businesses and taking kickbacks from a not-for-profit organization that he founded and funded with millions of state taxpayer dollars. He also was charged with tax evasion, since he had never reported the money he received in kickbacks.
Soon after, the persuasive Senator agreed to plead guilty to two felony charges. In court, he admitted to an obstruction of justice charge after he was caught on tape advising one of the lawyers he had shaken down for payments how to lie to FBI investigators.
Uncle Vinnie is now serving a 21-month prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute in Loretto, Pennsylvania. His chief of staff pleaded guilty on a related charge.
Seems like the State of New York gave Uncle Vinnie an offer he couldn’t refuse: hard time.