By Howard Koplowitz
Indicted former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (Dâˆ’Richmond Hill) pleaded guilty Wednesday in Manhattan Federal Court to setting up a fake consulting business to collect corrupt payments from entities seeking his influence as a legislator, including Jamaica Hospital, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York said.
The plea came a day after Seminerio abruptly resigned from the Assembly after more than 30 years in office.
Seminerio, 74, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 20 after pleading guilty to defrauding the public of his honest services before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, the U.S. attorney said.
“Instead of using his office to help New Yorkers, Anthony Seminerio used his office to help himself,” acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin said in a statement. “Anthony Seminerio was caught redâˆ’handed violating the law and the public’s trust by taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in corrupt payments.”
Seminerio set up Marc Consultants, a fake consulting company, in 1999 and used it to funnel illegal payments from those seeking favorable treatment in Albany.
In pleading guilty, Seminerio admitted that Jamaica Hospital paid him a consulting fee as it tried to acquire another hospital, federal prosecutors said.
Seminerio did not disclose to a state Health Department official whom he had spoke to about the Jamaica Hospital matter.
“I knew that my conduct was illegal and wrong,” the former assemblyman said when entering his plea, federal prosecutors said.