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Ex-NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Sentenced To Prison In Bribery, Money Laundering Retrial

Former state Assemblyman Sheldon Silver
Former state Assemblyman Sheldon Silver Photo Credit: File photo

Former New York State Assembly Speaker Shelton Silver is heading to prison after being found guilty of corruption charges for the second time.

Silver, 74, was sentenced to seven years in prison a federal jury decided he used his position to obtain nearly $4 million in bribes in exchange for his official acts. He was also found guilty of obtaining another $1 million through a money laundering scheme.

In addition, Silver, a Democrat who represented part of Manhattan, was found guilty of two counts of honest service wire fraud, two counts of honest services mail fraud, two counts of extortion under the color of official right and one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions in May. He was found guilty of the same charges in November 2015, but it was overturned.

Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that for more than two decades, while serving as the speaker, Silver “used this immense power – including, in particular, his power over the real estate industry and his control over certain health care funding – to unlawfully and corruptly enrich himself.”

The sentence comes on the heels of former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son's second conviction for corruption charges.

Silver was found guilty of soliciting client referrals worth millions of dollars in exchange for official acts and then attempted to disguise that money as legitimate income earned from his work as a private attorney. He is expected to begin serving his sentence in the fall.

“When he assumed his powerful position at the top of New York State government, Sheldon Silver took an oath to do the work of the people,” Berman stated. “Instead, he leveraged his tremendous influence to pad his bank account and line his pockets. 

“Sheldon Silver has been given a lengthy sentence of seven years in federal prison.  We hope today’s fittingly stiff sentence sends a clear message: brokering official favors for your personal benefit is illegal and will result in prison time.  I thank the career prosecutors of this Office for their perseverance in this important case for the people of New York.”

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