Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver used his office to mask millions of dollars in “bribes and kickbacks” as legitimate outside income from two private law firms over more than a decade, according to a bombshell 35-page criminal complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara today. The five-count complaint on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, and extortion outlines two schemes Mr. Silver used to leverage his official position as the powerful Democratic leader of the Assembly to rake in cash, which he presented as legitimately earned income for representing private clients.
Mr. Silver collected more than $6 million in outside income from two private law firms since 2002, according to the complaint. Approximately $700,000 came in “undisclosed bribes and kickbacks” from a scheme in which Mr. Silver used his influence as Assembly Speaker to “induce real estate developers with business before the State” to use a real estate law firm run by an attorney who previously worked as Mr. Silver’s counsel in the Assembly, and which paid Mr. Silver for the referrals.
To continue reading the story and to see the complaint, read the New York Observer story here.