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Queens Chronicle

Shirley Huntley set for early release

Former state senator sentenced on federal wire fraud charge in 2013

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:56 am, Thu May 22, 2014.

With one Queens politician being arrested last week and two more set to go on trial in federal court in June, one also is set to be freed from federal custody this month.

The New York Post reported this week that former state Sen. Shirley Huntley will be released from a halfway house at the end of May, 10 months into a 366-day prison sentence for corruption.

Huntley, 75, represented Jamaica before losing a 2012 primary to now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park). She pleaded guilty in February of last year to a charge of wire fraud in connection with the embezzlement of nearly $88,000 from Parents Information Network, a phony nonprofit organization and was sentenced in May.

In April of last year Huntley received a term of five years’ probation on state charges of filing false paperwork related to a scheme to steal state grant money from Parents Workshop.

That also was a bogus nonprofit, founded in 2006 and operated by Lynn Smith, Huntley’s niece, and Patricia Savage, a former aide to the senator.

Smith and Savage both pleaded guilty to reduced charges in February 2013. So did David Gantt, a consultant.

Huntley made further news before going to prison last year when it was revealed that she allowed the FBI to record conversations she had in her home with nine people between June and August of 2012.

The list included state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis), who goes on trial for federal corruption charges with former Republican Councilman Dan Halloran on June 2.

Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) and state Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) also were recorded at the Huntley home.

Wills was arrested last week for allegedly stealing a portion of a state grant to NY 4 Life, a nonprofit he once supervised; and for misappropriating $11,500 in matching city campaign funds.

The state grant for NY 4 Life was secured by Huntley while Wills served as her chief of staff.

Sampson was arrested last year on a nine-count federal indictment.

Huntley agreed to help the FBI in 2012 after agents confronted her with conversations they had recorded on her tapped cell phone. Law enforcement sources told the Chronicle last year that all those who were recorded in Huntley’s home had been invited either at the FBI’s request or Huntley’s recommendation to federal agents.

The bureau and prosecutors eventually declined to offer Huntley a cooperation agreement as they came to find her statements “false, implausible and inconsistent” as they continued their investigations.

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1 comment:

  • CleanUpJamaicaQueens posted at 3:04 pm on Fri, May 16, 2014.

    CleanUpJamaicaQueens Posts: 140

    Don't come back to Jamaica Aunt Esther, we do not want your sorry self here anymore. And take Wills, Smith, Scarborough, Cook, Meeks and the rest of the motley crew of crooked and useless Jamaica politicians with you.

    Jamaica is DONE with your type of leadership.