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Monday, February 13, 2012

NYS Thruway Niagara Section Weather

I-90 - NYS THRUWAY, Milepost 417.27
accident I-90 - NYS Thruway westbound at exit 49
Estimated End Time: Until further notice

I-90 - NYS THRUWAY, Milepost 375.6
accident I-90 - NYS Thruway westbound between exit 46 and exit 47
Estimated End Time: Until further notice

Forecast for today Monday February thirteenth Partly sunny and 31 High No Snow
Tonight snow showers 26 Low Tomorrow Snow and 35 High

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Former New York State Senator Nicholas A. Spano Pleads Guilty in White Plains Federal Court to Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns

Senator Guilty of Falsely Characterizing and Failing to Report Certain Income

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeFebruary 10, 2012
  • Southern District of New York
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Victor W. Lessoff, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS-CID”), and Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that former New York State Senator NICHOLAS A. SPANO pled guilty today in White Plains federal court to obstructing the ability of the IRS to assess and collect U.S. income taxes by filing fraudulent tax returns.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Former Senator Nicholas Spano is the latest in a regrettably long line of lawmakers turned lawbreakers. When elected officials put padding their pockets above the law, they tarnish our government and undermine people’s faith in their public servants. We will not tolerate this conduct and will continue to aggressively prosecute those who engage in it.”
IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff stated: “Public officials, whether elected or appointed, hold positions of trust in the eyes of the public. That trust is broken when these officials commit crimes. Public officials do not get free passes to ignore the tax laws and they will still be held accountable after they leave office. IRS-CI works to ensure that everyone pays their fair share. “
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk stated: “We hope that our elected representatives hold themselves to a higher standard. At a minimum, the people of New York have the right to expect that lawmakers will not be lawbreakers.”
According to the information and statements made during today’s proceeding:
NICHOLAS SPANO served as a New York State Senator for the 35th district, representing most of Westchester County, from 1987 until 2006. In that capacity, SPANO was responsible for voting on and approving the operating budget for New York State, a portion of which included funding for the Office of General Services (“OGS”).
In 1993, a White Plains-based insurance company began paying SPANO a $1,500 monthly fee to act as an outside consultant. In 1996, after the insurance company was awarded a lucrative contract by OGS to become the broker of record for New York State, the payments increased to $5,000 per month. The payments were subsequently increased to $6,000 per month in 1999 and $8,333.33 (or $100,000 per year) in 2002. The payments stopped in 2008 when the insurance company ceased to be OGS’s broker of record.
The payments from the insurance company were paid through various corporate entities controlled by SPANO, including ONAPS, Inc. which later changed its name to HVM Corp. ONAPS had no employees or offices and was used almost exclusively to receive money paid to SPANO by the insurance company.
Spano’s Concealment of Income
From 2000 through 2008, SPANO engaged in a scheme to impede and impair the due administration of the Internal Revenue Laws by filing false federal income tax returns that falsely characterized income he received from the insurance company and other sources to unlawfully reduce his tax burden.
During the relevant time period, SPANO wrote checks that totaled more than $180,000 from HVM to a real estate holding company he owned, 221 Ridge Ave. Corp, which owned a two-family rental property in Yonkers, New York. The checks were for non-existent rental expenses. SPANO falsely advised his tax return preparer that HVM conducted business at 221 Ridge Avenue, had an office at that location, and paid rent to the holding company. As a result, HVM deducted more than $180,000 in false and fraudulent rental expenses on its tax returns.
In 2004, SPANO also failed to report to the IRS a $45,000 commission he received from the sale of a building to a White Plains real estate developer, and between 2005 and 2006, failed to report cash rental payments he received from residential real estate tenants.
* * *
SPANO, 58, of Yonkers, New York, pled guilty to one count of obstructing and impeding the due administration of the Internal Revenue Laws. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the crime.
SPANO will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel on June 11, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry A. Carbone, Jason P.W. Halperin, and Cynthia Dunne are in charge of the prosecution.

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Attorney General Eric Holder Launches Consumer Protection Working Group to Combat Consumer Fraud

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Attorney General Eric Holder Launches Consumer Protection Working Group to Combat Consumer Fraud
Working Group Created Under President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Brings Together Federal, State and Local Partners
The Consumer Protection Working Group, formed under President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), convened its first meeting in Washington, D.C., today to address consumer fraud, which can financially cripple households and can cause extensive losses to our economy. The newly-created group will work across federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and with state and local partners, to strengthen efforts to address consumer-related fraud, including schemes targeting vulnerable populations, such as the unemployed, those in need of payday loans, and those suffering from the burden of high credit card and other debt. The new working group will also focus on scams that exploit prospective students, active-duty military personnel and veterans.  
“The schemes we are combating are as diverse as the imaginations of those who perpetrate them, and as sophisticated as modern technology will permit. Thanks in large part to the leadership of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force we are tackling financial fraud, in all its forms, head on,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Through the extensive and coordinated partnership we start today, we will strengthen our collective efforts, enhance civil and criminal enforcement of consumer fraud and educate the public in an effort to prevent consumers from being victimized in the first place.”  
Attorney General Holder delivered remarks at today’s meeting which was convened by FFETF Executive Director Michael Bresnick along with the working group’s co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division Lanny Breuer, U.S. Attorney  for the Central District of California AndrĂ© Birotte and Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) David Vladeck. Another co-chair, Director of Enforcement for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Kent Markus, was unable to attend the meeting.
“We know all too well how opportunistic fraudsters have adapted their schemes to take advantage of consumers facing financial hardships, using false promises of mortgage modification, debt relief, and job placement, to name a few. Since 2009, the FTC has brought over 90 cases to stop these scams,” said Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the FTC David Vladeck. “This partnership will only serve to enhance our collective efforts to protect consumers.”  
The Consumer Protection Working Group will address several areas of concern, including payday lending and other high-pressure telemarketing or Internet scams, business opportunity schemes, for-profit schools that engage in fraud or misrepresentation and fraudulent third party payment processors that facilitate payments on behalf of other fraudsters without the permission of the customer.
At today’s meeting, the Consumer Protection Working Group members set priorities and discussed taking collaborative steps to continue to seek out and prosecute consumer fraud as well as protect consumers from fraud before it happens through outreach and education. The new working group plans to establish a best-practices tool kit, legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives and an information sharing structure.   
Other members of the Consumer Protection Working Group include representatives from the Department of Treasury, FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, U.S. Secret Service, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Trustee Program, the National Association of Attorneys General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board and the National Credit Union Administration. The state attorneys general are represented on the working group by Attorney General Lisa Madigan from Illinois, Attorney General Greg Zoeller from Indiana and Attorney General Roy Cooper from North Carolina.  
The Consumer Protection Working Group is part of ongoing enforcement efforts by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.   
Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Task force members have charged a record number of  mortgage fraud cases in the past two years, trained more than 100,000 professionals responsible for awarding and overseeing Recovery Act funds and held regional summits around the country to discuss strategies, resources and initiatives, as well as to meet with communities most affected by the financial crisis.
Learn more about the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at .

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