U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara on Tuesday said Sen. Thomas Libous used his influence to secure a job for his son and direct business to an Albany lobbying firm — and subsequently lied to federal investigators about it.
In a statement Tuesday, Bharara says Libous “tried to cover up his corrupt conduct by lying to FBI Agents.” Libous, R-Binghamton, was charged with one count of making false statements to the FBI in an indictment unsealed Tuesday morning.
“As alleged, Thomas Libous took advantage of his position as Senator and Chairman of the Transportation Committee by corruptly causing lobbyists, who wanted Libous’s influence to benefit their clients, to funnel money through a law firm to his son where Libous has gotten his son a position,” Bharara said.
If convicted, Libous faces up to five years in prison.
Libous’ son, Matthew, was hit with six federal charges, including obstructing or impeding the FBI and filing false tax returns. Bharara’s office, which represents the Southern District of New York, accused Matthew Libous of accepting payments directly from clients while working for the Westchester County firm of now-disbarred attorney Anthony Mangone and not claiming the added income.
Matthew Libous is also accused of using his own Westchester-based company — Wireless Construction Solutions — to fund personal expenses, such as trips to a casino, purchases on iTunes and a membership to a dating website. He’s accused of not reporting $244,000 of income from the company on his tax returns.
From The Journal News’ Jonathan Bandler:
Matthew Libous pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Lisa Margaret Smith in federal court in White Plains Tuesday afternoon. He was released on $50,000 bail. His father, who is expected to be arraigned himself in about an hour, watched from the gallery.
Matthew’s lawyer, John Meringolo, would not discuss charges, saying only that his client will fight them and that Matthew Libous is “an attorney in good standing for 10 years without any complaints against him.”
His ownership of Wireless Construction Solutions was separate from his law practice, Meringolo said.