Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a key player in the adoption of sweeping gun control laws, was sentenced to seven years in prison last week.
For the second time since 2015, Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, was unanimously found guilty after a jury trial in May of making millions off private schemes conducted in part through his public office. The ruling came following a retrial after his first conviction was overturned by an appeals court. In all, Silver is believed to have taken $4 million in bribes as well as pocketing another $1 million through money laundering the proceeds.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a statement. “Instead, he leveraged his tremendous influence to pad his bank account and line his pockets.”
According to court documents, agents from the FBI discovered Silver collected $700,000 in kickbacks for helping to arrange real estate deals in Manhattan that included using his position to enhance the property’s value. Prosecutors argued he also funneled more than $500,000 in state grants to a physician who in turn referred lucrative asbestos patients to Silver’s law firm. Those referrals generated fees to Silver worth over $3 million. Federal investigators said Silver collected more than $6 million from the firm for which he never actually performed any legal work.
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