The Queens Courier has learned that disgraced former Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio passed away in jail on January 6.
The news was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Federal Medical Center at Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.
Assemblymember Michael Miller said, “for over 30 years Anthony Seminerio represented the 38th Assembly District with passion and dedication. We should remember all of the good things that he has done for the community. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wife and his children.”
The 75-year-old Seminerio was sentenced in February 2010 by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald to six years in prison for defrauding the people of New York while he was a member of the State Legislature.
“From 1999 through September 2008, Seminerio engaged in a scheme to defraud the public . . . by using a purported consulting firm, ‘Marc Consultants,’ to solicit and receive ‘consulting’ payments . . .,” read Buchwald’s findings.
“I’m 74 years old,” Seminerio said in published reports following the sentence. “How much time have I left?”
Seminerio, pleaded guilty in June of 2009 to charges that he took nearly $1 million from hospitals, a school and other entities for actions he undertook as a member of the State Assembly. He allegedly used Marc Consultants – the consulting firm he ran for nearly eight years – to collect payments for actions he took as a state legislator.
During the sentencing, Buchwald described how Seminerio “accepted bribes and engaged in extortion as part of a decade-long scheme to use his office – both literally and figuratively – for personal gain and at the expense of the public trust.”
Buchwald found that Seminerio did not perform “any bona fide consulting services that fall outside the scope of activities an elected official could readily be expected to perform on behalf of his or her constituents.”
In addition to the six-year jail sentence, Buchwald also ordered Seminerio to pay $1 million in forfeiture.
However, at the time of his sentencing, there were still some who felt Seminerio had their best interests at heart.
“He was very good to us,” said Simcha Waisman, President of the One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center. “He provided us with most of our funding for the kids.”
Waisman went on to say that the center always “proved [to Seminerio] where the money was going. His resignation took a big toll.”