Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel on the Arrest and Charges Against Sheldon Silver
For nearly two decades, Sheldon Silver has served as speaker of the New York State Assembly, a position that has afforded him significant power over the workings of state government.
As alleged, Silver took advantage of this political pulpit to benefit from unlawful profits. When all was said and done, Silver amassed nearly $4 million in illegitimate proceeds. He also arranged for approximately $500,000 in state funds to be used for projects that benefited his personal plans.
The nature of his earnings went virtually undetected—until today.
Silver’s wallet was enriched through his association with a physician to whom he issued state grants and other favors made possible through his official position. In exchange for favors, the physician referred patients with asbestos-related diseases to Silver at Weitz & Luxenberg, a law firm where he was affiliated as counsel.
In the end, Silver received over $3 million in proceeds from the patients referred to him, and more than $500,000 in state money was allocated for projects that directly benefited the doctor and his family.
But the special treatment didn’t stop there.
Silver also received more than $700,000 in kickbacks after leading two real estate developers with business before the state to a law firm run by a co-conspirator with whom he had entered into a corrupt relationship. He later supported a proposal made by one of the developers, which was, in substantial part, enacted into legislation in 2011.
We hold our elected representatives to the highest standards and expect them to act in the best interest of their constituents. In good faith, we trust they will do so while defending the fundamental tenets of the legal system. But as we are reminded today, those who make the laws don’t have the right to break the laws.
Thanks, as always, to our partners in this and so many investigations, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara; Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of the Public Corruption Unit Arlo Devlin-Brown; and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carrie Cohen, Howard Master, Andrew Goldstein, and James McDonald.
I would also like to thank and congratulate the investigative team that worked together to address corruption in New York:
I extend my sincere congratulations to Robert Ryan and John Barry, criminal investigators from the Southern District, FBI Special Agents Richard Wilfling, Paul Takla, and Elizabeth Bracco, as well as Supervisory Special Agent James Barnacle, for their work on this important investigation.