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Former NYC council member Seabrook sentenced to prison

NEW YORK - A former New York City Council Member was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to five years in prison.  Larry Seabrook, who represented the 12th Council District in the Bronx, was convicted on nine counts for public corruption crimes in a July 2012 jury trial.

Seabrook served as a member of the New York City Council (the “Council”) from January 2002 until his July 2012 conviction in this case. In that capacity, his official duties included: voting on legislation, representing and advocating for the interests of his constituents, and allocating New York City funds to non-profit organizations, including:

The Council Discretionary Funds Scheme: From 2002 through 2009, Seabrook directed numerous city contracts valued at more than $2 million to purportedly independent non-profit organizations supposedly doing community-benefit work in the north Bronx. In fact, however, Seabrook controlled these non-profit organizations, negotiating the leasing of their office space, creating their budgets, and making their personnel decisions.

The FDNY Diversity Program Scheme: In the summer of 2005, in an effort to increase diversity in the ranks of the New York City Fire Department (the “FDNY”), the Council allocated approximately $1.5 million to, among other things, recruit and train minorities to pass the firefighter examination.

The “Jobs To Build On Program” Scheme: In 2007, the Council allocated millions of dollars to the Jobs To Build On Program (“JTBO”), a job training and employment initiative spearheaded by Seabrook and others. The Consortium for Worker Education (the “CWE”) was eventually charged with the responsibility of administering JTBO funds.

In addition to his prison term, Seabrook, 61, of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced to two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $619, 715.24 in restitution and to forfeit $418, 252.53, to be returned to the City as part of the restitution. He was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment fee.

In sentencing Seabrook, Federal District Judge Deborah A. Batts, who also presided over his trial, remarked: “[Seabrook] held himself above the law, and betrayed the public trust.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Councilman Larry Seabrook sacrificed the public trust on the altar of greed. He was a flagrant and serial abuser of City Council discretionary funds in a far too familiar New York tale of corruption. Today’s sentence finally vindicates the interests of the constituents whose trust he so casually violated by his fraud. We remain committed to making those who are corrupted by power pay the price, and the public can expect more arrests of politicians who have not learned this lesson.”