Ogundu Gets 1 to 3 Years in Prison; NLPC Exposed Earmarks to Fake NYC Health Clinic

New York physician Dorothy Ogundu has been sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison for ripping off City, State and federal programs for a fake health clinic. The Nigerian-born Ogundu was convicted in October on 29 counts, including second-degree grand larceny, forgery in the second degree, and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

The prosecution was based on information uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), and made public through a New York Post article in April 2012. The Ogundu exposé was a spinoff of our investigation of Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who secured a $380,500 earmark for the "clinic."

After reviewing Meeks' earmarks in 2011, NLPC decided to take a closer look at Angeldocs, Inc., which operated the fake clinic in Queens, called the Aki Life Health Center. Soonafter, NLPC filed a Complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Angeldocs, alleging self-dealing and inurnment by …

Sheldon Silver Latest Domino to Fall in New York Political Scandals

Ex-New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted this week on corruption charges, is the latest domino to fall as New York’s culture of political corruption unravels. The next is likely to be Dean Skelos, the former Senate Majority Leader, who is on trial now.

NLPC was not the source of the evidence on which the charges against Republican Skelos and Democrat Silver were based, but the investigations would not have taken place if not for NLPC’s exposés of a slew of other corrupt officials.

Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo disbanded the so-called “Moreland Commission,” an anti-corruption panel he named in 2013 to root out graft in response to all the headlines generated by NLPC. Cuomo shut down the Commission because it was apparently getting too close to his friends.

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, opened a criminal investigation of Cuomo …

Ex-NY State Sen. Leader John Sampson Convicted

New York State Senator John Sampson, a Democrat of Brooklyn, was convicted yesterday on three counts, including obstruction of justice. He was acquitted on six others, but the conviction should result in significant prison time. No date has yet been set for sentencing.

Between 1998 and 2008, Sampson allegedly embezzled approximately $440,000 from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties on which he was a court- appointed referee. The embezzlement charges were thrown out because the state of limitations expired. The charges on which he was convicted relate to the cover-up.

Reportedly, the Sampson investigation was an extension of the investigation of U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), prompted by newspaper headlines based on information provided by the National Legal and Policy Center.

Beginning in 2010, we reviewed public documents connected to Meeks and his political network. Meeks was involved with a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation. Among other …

Ex-NY State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith Gets Seven Years

Former New York Senator Malcolm Smith was yesterday sentenced to seven years in prison for bribery and related offenses. He was convicted in February. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.

Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) headed to jail. Formal investigations of several New York politicians began in 2010 after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) exposed corruption through stories in the New York Post, New York Times and New York Daily News.

The first story, in the New York Post of January 31, 2010, focused on a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation, which according to its website, was founded by Meeks and Smith.

Our review of IRS tax returns, New York state budget records, and other documents suggested that New Direction did little development. Instead, it operated to the …

Taking the Bait on Menendez Story

Commentators on both the Left and the Right are suggesting that the impending indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is retribution against Menendez for his recent criticisms of Obama administration foreign policy. While we concur that almost everything that Attorney General Eric Holder does is tainted by politics, a few points about the Menendez case are in order:

1) The reported charges against Menendez, that he tried to interfere with a Medicare fraud investigation of his largest donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, and that he went to bat for Melgen in the Dominican Republic port security deal, were not cooked up by the political operation at the White House.

The Medicare investigation was initiated by the anti-fraud unit of HHS. (Melgen was the biggest recipient of Medicare reimbursement in the whole country in 2012). The port security deal was uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center. We broke the story …

Senator Robert Menendez Facing Criminal Indictment?

CNN is reporting that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) will be indicted on charges related to favors he provided to his largest campaign contributor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Miami-area eye doctor.

The probe was reportedly initiated after media reports that Menendez intervened on Melgen's behalf with government officials regarding a Medicare billing dispute and a port security deal in the Dominican Republic. Based on information provided by NLPC, the New York Times first reported on February 1, 2013 that Menendez went to bat for the Dominican port security deal that would have resulted in a "highly lucrative windfall" for Melgen.

One of Melgen’s companies contributed $700,000 to Senate Majority PAC, a “super PAC” associated with now-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Most of the money was spent in New Jersey to re-elect Menendez in 2012.

In January 2014, Menendez disclosed that he accepted a third flight on a private jet owned …

Ex-New York State Senator Malcolm Convicted of Bribery

Malcolm Smith

Former New York State Senator Malcolm Smith was convicted in federal court last week of bribery, wire fraud and extortion. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.

Convicted at the same time was Vincent Tabone, a former Queens Republican Party official. Smith, Tabone, and other GOP officials conspired to allow Smith, a liberal Democrat, to run for New York City mayor as a Republican in 2013, in return for $25,000.

Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) to be convicted of crimes. Formal investigations of several New York politicians began in 2010 after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) exposed corruption through stories in the New York Post, New York Times and New York Daily News.

The first story, in the New York Post of January 31, 2010, focused on a nonprofit called New …

Rep. Meeks’ Crony Albert Baldeo Sentenced to 18 Mos. in Federal Prison

Meeks and BaldeoOn Monday, New York City Democratic leader Albert Baldeo was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. He was convicted of seven counts of obstruction of justice in August of last year.

Baldeo was originally charged with three counts of fraud related to the use of straw donors to qualify for taxpayer matching funds for 2010 for his unsuccessful City Council campaign. The scheme was exposed in a New York Post story of October 11, 2011, based on information provided by the National Legal and Policy Center as part of our investigation into U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and his political network.

Baldeo was acquitted of the fraud charges but was convicted of attempting to prevent the straw donors from cooperating with the investigation.

In the 2010 City Council election, the seat was won by Ruben Mills. Mills was arrested in May 2014 for allegedly looting a nonprofit group he …

Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch is Soft on Political Corruption

Loretta Lynch and Barack ObamaLoretta Lynch, President Obama’s choice to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General, has an especially weak record of investigating and prosecuting political corruption. Moreover, her longstanding ties to the New York political machine have limited her independence as a prosecutor.

Lynch, who currently serves as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, has watched as Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the neighboring Southern District of New York, has prosecuted case after case. And Bharara would not have acted except for a slew of newspaper headlines about political corruption generated by the National Legal and Policy Center.

We conducted these investigations from afar, based primarily by an examination of public documents, without the benefit of tools available to prosecutors. Loretta Lynch had nothing to do with exposing all this corruption that was taking place right under her nose.

To his credit, Bharara is also investigating New York Governor …

Rep. Michael Grimm’s Campaign Shakedown Scheme

Gregory Meeks and Michael GrimmToday’s New York Post reports that Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), already under indictment, sought out and allegedly accepted campaign contributions in his initial 2010 race for Congress that exceeded contribution limits.

He asked for $10,000 donations from six people, when the legal limit for individual contributions is $2,400. The contributions were not disclosed on Grimm’s campaign disclosure forms, evidence that Grimm may have been aware that they were illegal.

From the article by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein:

“A candidate who tries to get others to solicit contributions far in excess of the legal limit raises big red flags,” said Ken Boehm, a former prosecutor and chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Virginia watchdog. Not reporting donations, or funneling them through straw donors, is illegal.

Despite being a Republican, Grimm is close to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) of Queens, in photo with Grimm. According to a …