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Post date: August 22 2014

A.G. Schneiderman And Comptroller DiNapoli Announce Arrests In Public Corruption Case Involving Developer Who Allegedly Laundered Campaign Contributions To Former Halfmoon Supervisor

Bruce Tanski Is Charged with Using Six Straw Donors to Illegally Funnel Contributions to Campaign Account of Melinda “Mindy” Wormuth

BALLSTON SPA – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the arrest and indictment of Bruce C. Tanski of Clifton Park, Katina M. Fogarty of Latham, and Nicholas M. DiNova, Jr. of Halfmoon for their roles in an alleged scheme to circumvent campaign finance laws. 

The case, being prosecuted by Attorney General Schneiderman’s office, is the product of a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Comptroller DiNapoli’s Office. The three defendants are accused of evading requirements that donations be in the true name of the donor. Tanski is accused of evading campaign contribution limits. The contributions were allegedly funneled to then-Town of Halfmoon Supervisor Melinda “Mindy” Wormuth, who, in a public corruption case pending in Saratoga County Court, is separately charged with stealing thousands of dollars from campaign accounts.

“The law applies to everyone equally, no matter how rich or how powerful, and that is why my office has aggressively prosecuted over 50 individuals in public corruption cases since 2011, including a sitting state senator, a current member of the New York City Council, and elected officials from both parties across New York State,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Public corruption undermines faith in government, and that is why I have made cracking down on public corruption a top priority.”

“These individuals allegedly attempted to secretly funnel money into the town supervisor’s campaign chest, breaking the law and breaking the trust of the public,” said New York State Comptroller DiNapoli. “My office will continue to work with law enforcement across the state to fight corruption and the abuse of taxpayers. The public should be able to put its trust into government, and I’ll do my part to find those who violate that trust.” 

“Individuals who seek to circumvent election laws undermine the entire election process thus denying a level playing field for all candidates,” said Andrew W. Vale, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Division of the FBI. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to see that public corruption is rooted out at all levels.”

Tanski is accused of circumventing election law and campaign contribution limits, with the assistance of six persons who allegedly served as straw donors, including co-defendants Katina Fogarty and Nicholas DiNova, Jr. Tanski, who has several businesses with interests in the Town of Halfmoon, allegedly contributed a total of $6,000 to the campaign of Wormuth through the straw donors, in violation of the $1,000 contribution limit. 

According to court papers, Tanski evaded the $1,000 limit by providing each of six individuals with $1,000, who then issued a personal check for $1,000 to the campaign in his or her own name and from his or her bank account. The indictment charges that these contributions caused the treasurer of the Friends of Mindy Wormuth campaign account to file false financial disclosure reports with the state Board of Elections. The Wormuth Campaign received the $6,000 in donations between March 2013 and July 2013. In 2011, Tanski was admonished by the state Board of Elections for exceeding the $1,000 contribution limit to Wormuth’s campaign in 2007 and 2009.

Tanski is charged in the indictment with Offering a False Instrument for Filing, a class E felony, as well as six counts of violating Election Law § 14-120(1), a class A misdemeanor, titled Campaign Contributions to be Under True Name of Contributor; and one count of violating Election Law § 14-126(4), a class A misdemeanor, for violating the campaign limit established by the Election Law.  Fogarty and DiNova are each separately charged with one count of violating Election Law § 14-120(1).  The case is pending before Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry J. Scarano.

The Attorney General and Comptroller thank Special Agents Timothy Coll and Vinesh Manglavil of the FBI (Albany office) for their cooperation and assistance in this investigation.  

Prosecuting the case are Senior Counsel Darren Miller and Assistant Attorney General Bridget Holohan-Scally of the Public Integrity Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office. The Public Integrity Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Daniel Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The Public Integrity Bureau is part of the Criminal Justice Division led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The investigation was handled by Investigator Mitch Paurowski, with support from Antoine Karam and Dominick Zarrella of the Attorney General's Investigations Bureau, with assistance provided by Jason Blair, forensic auditor for the Attorney General’s Office, and legal analyst Sara Pogorzelski. 

The Comptroller’s investigation was handled by the Division of Investigations.

The charges are merely accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The investigation into allegations of corruption in the Town of Halfmoon continues.  Anyone with additional information on this matter should call the Attorney General’s Office at 518-474- 8686.

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