NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Former New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook has been sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges.
Seabrook was convicted of steering more than $2 million in taxpayer dollars to shady non-profit organizations he founded, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
The 61-year-old former Bronx councilman told the judge that he remained a “proud man” but was prepared for whatever sentence she would deliver.
Seabrook was convicted on nine of 12 felony counts last summer in Manhattan federal court. The conviction came a year after a different jury deadlocked on the fraud charges against him.
Seabrook used the funds he misdirected to his non-profits to employ his mistress, friends and family, jurors determined last year.
Prosecutors had argued that Seabrook diverted funds to his bogus non-profits from 2002 through 2009.
Prosecutors had sought seven to nine years in prison, while the Democrat’s lawyer asked for a non-custodial sentence.
Judge Deborah Batts said that while Seabrook did serve the public for many years as an elected official, he was brought down by his sense of “entitlement, arrogance, nepotism and greed,” Cornell reported.
The government also alleged at trial that Seabrook used a political club to launder public funds for personal use and evidence offered by prosecutors included a receipt that Seabrook submitted for reimbursement that had been doctored to boost the cost of a $7 bagel sandwich and a Snapple to $177.
After the sentence was announced, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement calling Seabrook “a flagrant and a serial abuser of City Council discretionary funds in a far too familiar New York tale of corruption.”
Seabrook, also a former state assemblyman and senator, vigorously denied any wrongdoing throughout both of his fraud trials.
The case emerged from a wider probe into possible abuse of discretionary funds that the City Council sets aside for its members to use on community projects of their choice.
In addition to the five year sentence, Seabrook was ordered to pay $619,715 in restitution. The judge said Seabrook must report to prison by March 8.
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