Ex-comptroller Alan Hevesi granted parole

Former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi will

Former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi will be released in December, after serving 19 months for accepting campaign donations and gifts from people looking to do business with the state pension fund, which the comptroller’s office oversees. Photo Credit: Getty Images

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ALBANY -- Ex-New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi was granted parole Thursday after serving 19 months following an influence-peddling scheme involving the state pension fund.

But Hank Morris, a Hevesi associate convicted in a separate pension-fund scandal, was denied release.

Hevesi, 72, will be released in December, after serving time for accepting campaign donations and gifts from people looking to do business with the fund, which the comptroller's office oversees. The decision came just one day after Hevesi appeared before the parole board. He had been serving time at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Oneida County.

The board noted that Hevesi has served "significant time" beyond his minimum sentence of one year and did not pose a probable risk to the safety of the community.

In contrast, the parole board refused to release Morris, 59, a close ally of Hevesi and a once-powerful political consultant who was convicted of securities fraud. Morris had admitted extracting kickbacks from investment firms looking to do business with the state pension fund. The board said Morris, given a 11/3 to 4-year sentence, had a "reasonable probability" he would violate the law again if released.

Hevesi was convicted in the investigation of "pay to play" practices at the comptroller's office. He was serving a 1-to-4 year sentence for "receiving reward for official misconduct." He will remain on parole until April 14, 2015. In a parole hearing a year ago, Hevesi told the board that allowing a venture capitalist to pay $75,000 to fund his five trips to Israel constituted an "unprecedented" level of stupidity for him.

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But it wasn't the first scandal to mark Hevesi, who also served as New York City comptroller and state assemblyman.

In 2006, shortly after winning re-election as state comptroller, he was convicted of defrauding the government by having a state employee chauffeur his wife to shopping trips and medical appointments, among other things. Hevesi agreed to a plea deal, resigned from office, paid a fine and reimbursed the state for the employee's time.

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