A federal prosecutor for New York’s southern district is going after public pension payments to four convicted politicians, including former Yonkers City Councilwoman Sandy Annabi and state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, D-Queens.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filed papers Tuesday seeking to force former New York City Councilmen Miguel Martinez and Larry Seabrook into forfeiting their current and future pension payments. Annabi and Monserrate, meanwhile, are believed to have cancelled their membership in the state pension system, and Bharara filed a discovery request in an attempt to find out what kind of payments they received for dropping out, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“As I announced this fall, we are committed to using every legal tool to take the profit out of crime, and that includes preventing public money from being used to fund the comfortable retirement of corrupt officials,” Bharara said in a statement. “This is what justice and common sense require.”
The state Constitution protects lawmakers’ rights to their retirement benefits. But Bharara earlier this year first floated the idea of using federal forfeiture requirements to claw back pension benefits paid out to convicted lawmakers.
As part of their corruption convictions, Annabi was ordered to pay $1.27 million along with her 72-month prison sentence. Monserrate was sentenced to 24 months and has to forfeit $79,434.
(AP file photo of Bharara)