Settlements Will Ensure That Fraud Proceeds are Repaid
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of JOHN F. HAGGERTY, JR., 42, to 1 ⅓ to 4 years in state prison. On October 21, 2011, a jury found HAGGERTY and SPECIAL ELECTION OPERATIONS, LLC (“SEO”) guilty of defrauding Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in connection with the 2009 mayoral campaign. HAGGERTY was convicted on charges of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Money Laundering in the Second Degree. SEO was convicted of Money Laundering in the Second Degree.
Additionally, the Manhattan DA’s Office reached settlement agreements in the civil asset forfeiture action it previously filed against HAGGERTY, SEO, and THE NEW YORK STATE INDEPENDENCE PARTY (“INDEPENDENCE PARTY”). Under the agreements, the defendants in the civil lawsuit will collectively disgorge $900,000 in illegal proceeds stemming from HAGGERTY and SEO’s false representations to Mayor Bloomberg during the 2009 mayoral election. The funds will be returned to Mayor Bloomberg. The settlements were approved on December 16, 2011, by New York State Supreme Court Justice Martin Shulman.
“Haggerty’s fraudulent and cynical misconduct has now been punished, and his ill-gotten gains forfeited,” said District Attorney Vance. “This Office is committed to using every tool at its disposal, including robust enforcement of the asset forfeiture laws, to ensure that crime does not pay.”
As proven at trial, HAGGERTY, a volunteer for Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign for reelection in 2009, falsely represented to Mayor Bloomberg’s agents and campaign workers that he would arrange for nearly $1.1 million to be spent on an Election Day ballot security and poll watching operation, to be run through the INDEPENDENCE PARTY. Relying on those false representations, Mayor Bloomberg’s agents approved a contribution of $1.1 million of his personal funds to the INDEPENDENCE PARTY’s housekeeping account in order to fund the operation. In reality, neither HAGGERTY nor SEO made any expenditure in connection with ballot security and poll watching for Election Day 2009. For its part, the INDEPENDENCE PARTY spent less than $32,000. In December 2009, the Party wired $750,000 from its housekeeping account to the SEO account. HAGGERTY then used the bulk of the stolen funds to purchase a home.
HAGGERTY and SEO, both named as criminal defendants in the DA’s Office’s civil lawsuit, will forfeit $750,000, the amount of money they received from the INDEPENDENCE PARTY. The INDEPENDENCE PARTY, named as a non-criminal defendant, will forfeit an additional $150,000 of funds it received from Mayor Bloomberg.
In June 2010, in part upon a preliminary showing that HAGGERTY and SEO stole money from Mayor Bloomberg, the Court issued a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against them in order to preserve the availability of funds for forfeiture. In February 2011, the Court issued an additional TRO against the INDEPENDENCE PARTY. The INDEPENDENCE PARTY, the third largest political party in New York State, had only approximately $200,000 left, all of which was restrained pursuant to the TRO.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel, Chief of the Organized Crime Unit, handled the criminal case, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorneys Vanessa Richards and Brian P. Weinberg, Supervising Financial Investigator Matthew Paul, Trial Preparation Assistant Quentin Morgan, and Investigators Donato Siciliano and Jonathan Reid, under the supervision of Chief Investigator John Bilich.
Assistant District Attorneys Tara Miner and Duncan Levin, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, handled the asset forfeiture action, with the assistance of Chief Assistant District Attorney Daniel R. Alonso and Executive Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Kaufmann, Chief of the Investigation Division.
JOHN F. HAGGERTY, JR., D.O.B. 1/12/1969
SPECIAL ELECTION OPERATIONS, LLC
NEW YORK STATE INDEPENDENCE PARTY
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