Melinda Wormuth Arraigned on Two Felony Charges
Town of Halfmoon Supervisor Charged in Two-Count Indictment Alleging Extortion Under Color of Official Right and False Statements
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 17, 2013|
ALBANY, NY—Town of Halfmoon Supervisor Melinda Wormuth appeared today before Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece in federal court in Albany to be arraigned on two felony charges, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Andrew W. Vale, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Ms. Wormuth, 46, of Halfmoon, New York, was charged yesterday in a sealed indictment, which was unsealed today at her initial appearance. Count one of the indictment charges Ms. Wormuth with accepting money in return for her official actions. Specifically, she is charged with having received $7,500 in cash, which was characterized as “consultant fees,” in return for using her official position as town supervisor and as a member of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors to lobby for the legalization of professional Mixed Martial Arts. Count two of the indictment charges her with lying to federal investigators about legal advice she claimed to have obtained while accepting the consultant fees. If convicted, Ms. Wormuth faces up to 20 years in prison on count one and up to five years in prison on count two. She could also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
The charges are the result of an ongoing investigation by the Federal-State Anti-Corruption Task Force that includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York Attorney General’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service, the New York Comptroller’s Office, and others.
United States Attorney Hartunian stated, “These charges are an example of the culture of corruption which has no place in New York State public offices. Citizens trust their public officials to behave ethically, and it is a travesty when this pubic trust is broken. I will continue to work with my federal and state partners to ensure that public officials uphold that trust and, when they don’t, are held accountable for their actions.”
United States Attorney Hartunian also cited the cooperation of state and federal investigators in pursuing this investigation and the coordination of state and federal prosecutors in developing the specific charges brought today.
Special Agent in Charge Vale stated, “Today’s arrest demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to the investigation of corruption at all levels of government. Together with our law enforcement partners, the FBI will continue to work to ensure that all those who participate in corrupt schemes, which erode our communities and defraud those they are entrusted to serve, are held accountable for their actions.”
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Olmsted in Syracuse, New York. Press inquiries should be directed to Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Coombe.
An indictment is a mere accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.