Former Top City Pol Pleads Guilty

WNBC's Jonathan Dienst Coverage Of The Kerik Scandal

By Jonathan Dienst
|  Friday, Mar 4, 2011  |  Updated 8:20 PM EDT
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Former Top City Pol Pleads Guilty

AP Images

Andrew Stein, surrounded by media, leaves federal court in New York, Thursday, May 27, 2010. Stein is the former New York City Council President. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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Former New York City Council President Andrew Stein pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge for allegedly lying to the IRS in connection with a $60 million dollar fraud investigation.

After the hearing, Stein said his actions were "stupid" in not filing taxes in 2008.  But he claimed his guilty plea had "nothing to do" with the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a financial adviser Kenneth Starr, who gave Stein more than $1 million dollars. 

Prosecutors had first hit Stein with felony charges alleging the former City Council President used a shell corporation to try to hide money from the IRS.  Investigators had also said Stein had owed more than $2 million in taxes. 

Stein pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to a lesser misdemeanor count which carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison.  A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office is expected to release a statment later Wednesday. 

Stein had served as City Council President during the Koch administration years. He also served as Manhattan Borough President and as a member of the state assembly. At the time of his arrest, Stein had claimed the criminal charges were the result of a misunderstanding and would be "cleared up."

Starr, 66, pleaded guilty in September to charges of wire fraud and money laundering. Starr's clients had included Wesley Snipes and Uma Thurmond among other celebrities.  Starr had been living in a luxury apartment along East 74th Street using stolen funds to support a lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said.

 

Jonathan Dienst is WNBC's chief investigative reporter.

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