Noramie Jasmin, Joseph Desmaret, 4 others set for Tuesday arraignment
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Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph A. Desmaret are due in federal court Tuesday to enter pleas on public corruption charges.
The two Spring Valley Democrats and four other political figures -- state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat; New York City Republican Councilman Daniel Harlan; Bronx GOP boss Joseph Savino; and Queens GOP vice chairman Vincent Tabone -- were indicted April 18 by a federal grand jury in White Plains for their alleged roles in a complex corruption conspiracy.
Federal prosecutors say the bribery scheme centered on Smith attempting to finagle a spot on the New York City Republican line in the mayoral race and an under-the-table partnership that would pay Jasmin 50 percent of the contract to build a community center in Spring Valley. Desmaret is accused of accepting $10,500 in bribes to vote in favor of the planned community center.
The key player in the twin plots was a government informant from Spring Valley, Moses "Mark" Stern, a real estate developer who has been implicated in a mortgage fraud case in Rockland County involving a parcel of land next door to his mansion. He struck a deal with federal prosecutors and pleaded guilty to unspecified charges March 13 in federal court in White Plains. His case remains sealed. His cooperation with the FBI and U.S. attorney's office began in 2010.
His lawyer, Kerry Lawrence, a former federal prosecutor, declined to comment on Stern's involvement in the corruption sting.
Stern acted with an undercover FBI agent in both schemes to ensnare the six political figures, law enforcement authorities said. He and the undercover FBI agent posed as the would-be developers of the Spring Valley community center, entering into the secret deal with Jasmin and bribing Desmaret as well as negotiating the bribes that Smith would pay to the city GOP officials to get his name on the Republican line, authorities said.
Lawyers for the six defendants -- who face charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and other felonies -- did not return calls for comment Monday but have said their clients plan to plead not guilty. They all face more than 20 years in prison if convicted.