Former Mayor of Niagara Falls Sentenced to 13-Month Prison Term
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 20, 2010|
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that former Niagara Falls Mayor Vincenzo Anello, 64, of Niagara Falls, New York, was sentenced to 13 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. He pled guilty to submitting false documents to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 237 Welfare Fund which administers benefits for the union to which Anello belonged. Judge Skretny also ordered Anello to pay restitution in the amount of $45,403.25.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marie P. Grisanti and Paul J. Campana, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that Anello, an electrician and electrical contractor, was in retirement status with Local 237 when his term as Mayor ended December 31, 2007. As a retiree, Anello was eligible to collect a union pension of about $48,000 per year but only if he worked fewer than 39.5 hours a month. However, he worked nearly full-time from 2008 through March 2010 performing electrical work for businessman Joseph Anderson. Weekly transmittals filed with Local 237 indicated Anello worked just seven hours a week By filing the false claims, Anello fraudulently collected his pension even though he was not eligible.
Anello also admitted that he received $40,000 in secret payments from Anderson while successfully running for Mayor in 2003. In 2004, an Anderson-owned company was awarded a lease for the City’s East Pedestrian Mall based upon Anello’s recommendation.
The conviction was the result of investigations by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of James H. Robertson, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Buffalo Field Office, and the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Marjorie Franzman, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Region.