Former Councilmember and state Senator Hiram Monserrate was sentenced to 24 months behind bars on Tuesday for fraudulently using City Council money to fund a run for state office.
Monserrate, who pleaded guilty to the charges in May, was convicted of fraud after misappropriating more than $100,000 in City Council discretionary funding to finance his failed 2006 run for state Senate.
“Hiram Monserrate helped to underwrite his political ambitions with money that was intended to benefit those in need, and he corrupted his office in the process,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
The money was directed to the Latino Initiative for Better Resources and Empowerment (LIBRE), a non-profit in his then council district. The discretionary funds, which are drawn from city taxpayer dollars, were used to pay employees of the non-profit to collect signatures, work on his Senate campaign and conduct a voter registration drive.
“Hiram Monserrate was undone by his greed and now will pay the price. He used a nonprofit’s money to serve his own political career rather than his constituency and with today’s prison sentence will forfeit his freedom,” said Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.
In addition to the 24 months in jail, Monserrate must pay a $80,000 fine and serve three additional years of supervised release.
Monserrate, who was elected to the state Senate in 2008 after eight years in the City Council, was expelled from the seat in 2010 after being convicted of domestic assault of his girlfriend. He lost the subsequent special election to state Senator Jose Peralta.