Feds: Sandy Annabi should serve 17 years, repay Yonkers $300K

Sandy Annabi leaves federal court. She was convicted Sandy Annabi leaves federal court. She was convicted March 29 by a federal jury in Manhattan of conspiring with the head of the Republican Party in Yonkers, Zehy Jereis, 40, to sell her council vote on development projects in the city, including the controversial $600 million Ridge Hill project. Photo Credit: News12

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Federal prosecutors not only want former Yonkers City Council member Sandy Annabi to serve nearly 18 years in prison for selling her vote, they also want her to repay Yonkers voters more than $300,000 in salary she earned while a member of the governing body.

On top of that, the City of Yonkers wants Annabi to pay an additional $113,578 for costs it incurred during the government's investigation and prosecution of the case. Annabi, who served as a Democratic City Council member from 2002 to 2010, and Jereis, the former boss of the city's Republican Party, were convicted March 29 of conspiring to sell her vote on two development projects in the city.

Annabi, 40, and Jereis, 39, are scheduled to be sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan. Sentencing guidelines call for Annabi to receive a sentence of 12-15 years and Jereis to receive a prison sentence of 14-17 years.

But prosecutors said Thursday in court filings that's not enough. In addition to the 17 1/2 years recommended for Annabi, prosecutors said Jereis deserves up to 16 years in prison.

Annabi's "willingness to break the law repeatedly for her personal gain and her lies and concealment would be unconscionable in any case," Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry Carbone and Jason P.W. Halperin wrote in a sentencing memorandum. "Here, it is especially so because the defendant was a lawmaker trusted and elected to act in its best interest when she committed the crimes in question."

Jereis was convicted of bribing Annabi with nearly $200,000 in cash and gifts to sell her vote on two development projects, including the heated and controversial $600 million Ridge Hill project. Annabi, who initially opposed the project, changed her vote in 2006 after Jereis secured a $60,000 consulting contract with the developer.

Jereis maintained the cash and gifts were merely a failed attempt by a married man to win the single Annabi's heart.

Annabi did not respond to requests Thursday for comment.

Her lawyer, Edward V. Sapone, asked that she be spared any prison time and sentenced to five years' probation -- including one year of home confinement with an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.

"A non-incarceratory sentence upon Ms. Annabi can provide adequate general and specific deterrence," Sapone wrote in his presentencing papers.

Jereis' lawyer, Anthony Siano, brought up the tax evasion case of former Yonkers Republican state senator and power broker Nicholas Spano -- Jereis' mentor. He noted that Spano received a year and a day in prison.

Jereis, he said, deserved a sentence at or below the 10- to 16-months level -- with up to half of that satisfied by community confinement. Siano also asked that Jereis be allowed to remain free while pursuing an appeal of his conviction

"Unlike other cases of so-called political corruption Mr. Jereis did not seek or obtain free cars, free construction services or other hidden benefits," Siano said. "The benefits he conveyed upon Ms. Annabi were largely his own money and were paid out from his own checking account in his own name."

You also may be interested in: