Prosecutor Adds New Charge to Sheldon Silver Indictment

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Federal prosecutors yesterday filed a new charge against Lower East Side Assemblyman Sheldon Silver.  The former Assembly speaker was indicted in February on allegations that he used his powerful positions to profit nearly $4 million in illicit payments from two law firms.

Now U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara accuses Silver of placing large sums of money in a “private, high yield” investment fund “not available to the general public.” More from the Daily News:

Silver began investing the money — along with legally earned cash — in the vehicle, papers charged. By January, he had transferred $642,000 into the investment vehicle, which had grown to a value of $1.4 million. In 2011, when a change in state law requiring more disclosure regarding legislators’ outside income appeared on the horizon, Silver transferred more than $340,000 in the investment vehicle to the name of a family member, documents charge. The move avoided “future disclosure to the public of the full amount of his investment,” according to the indictment.

After yesterday’s filing, Silver now faces seven charges, including the new count of “monetary transactions involving criminal proceeds.”  The prosecutor split each of the three fraud previously filed into two charges.

Capital reported additional details about the investment firms allegedly used by Silver:

The indictment does not name the investment entities, but the financial transactions match previous filings from the U.S. Attorney’s office that indicate the firms are JoRon Management and Counsel Financial. Counsel Financial is chaired by Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg, the named partners of Weitz & Luxenberg P.C., where Silver has long served as an “of counsel” attorney. According to documents filed by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, Silver used his relationship with JoRon Management, a Buffalo-area company run by Jordan Levy, to invest his money in Counsel Financial, which prosecutors call a “private investment vehicle that promised a high annual rate of return with little risk.” According to the superseding indictment filed Thursday, Silver did not pay JoRon for investment advice.

In a statement, Silver’s legal team said, “This new filing is an attempt by the government to address defects in the indictment that we raised in our motion to dismiss. We are reviewing this new pleading and we will respond as before, in court.”

The judge in the case rejected the motion to dismiss but chastised Bharara for remarks he made before and after Silver’s January arrest.