Smith, Tabone to Start Federal Prison Terms This Fall; Former senator, QGOP official convicted of fraud, bribery

Smith, Tabone to Start Federal Prison Terms This Fall; Former senator, QGOP official convicted of fraud, bribery

Photo: Former State Sen. Malcolm Smith

Disgraced former state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and former Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone last week were sentenced to seven years and three-and-a-half years, respectively, in federal prison for bribery and fraud connected to the 2013 mayoral campaign.

Smith, 58, who was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons in September, was convicted of bribing city Republican Party leaders, including Tabone, as part of a scheme to allow Smith, a registered Democrat, to run for mayor on the GOP line. He also was convicted for his role in obtaining state funding for a real estate project in Spring Valley, N.Y., in exchange for cash bribes paid on his behalf to the city Republican officials.

According to the complaint, indictment, and evidence presented at trial, from about November 2012, through April 2, 2013, Smith agreed with former City Councilman Dan Halloran, who was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison, an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a wealthy real estate developer, and a cooperating witness to bribe borough GOP leaders in exchange for their authorization for Smith to appear on the ticket as a Republican.

Tabone is scheduled to surrender in October. The 48-year-old attorney was convicted of receiving bribes and witness tampering. The latter charge was added after Tabone unexpectedly appeared at former QGOP Chairman Phil Ragusa’s home an hour before the scheduled start of Ragusa’s deposition, in which he was expected to testify favorably for federal prosecutors, and attempted to pressure the gravely ill Ragusa not to testify against him.

“Bribes and kickbacks should never play a role in the selection of candidates for public office,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “By attempting to buy and sell a spot on New York City’s Mayoral ballot, Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone corrupted one of the most fundamental tenets of the democratic process, that candidates cannot bribe their way onto a ballot. “Today’s sentences make clear that the cost of violating the public trust in this way will be measured in years in a federal prison.”

Smith was also sentenced to two years of supervised release. Tabone was sentenced to one year supervised release and ordered to forfeit $25,000.


By Michael V. Cusenza


Former Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone

Former Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone



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