Sandy Annabi, Zehy Jereis to be sentenced today in bribery case

Former Yonkers city councilwoman Sandy Annabi. Former Yonkers city councilwoman Sandy Annabi. Photo Credit: Handout

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Sentencing is scheduled Monday for Sandy Annabi, the former Yonkers City Council member who could face nearly 18 years behind bars for a vote-selling scheme.

Zehy Jereis, the former chief of the city's Republican Party, also is slated to be sentenced in the corruption case by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan.

Jereis and Annabi, 40, were convicted in March of conspiring to sell her vote on two development projects.

Though sentencing guidelines call for Annabi to get a prison term of 12-15 years, federal prosecutors are pushing for 17 1/2 years plus forfeiture of the more than $300,000 she earned in salary on the City Council.

Further, the City of Yonkers is seeking $113,578 in costs it said it incurred during the government's investigation and prosecution of the case. Annabi served as a Democrat on the City Council from 2002 to 2010.

Prosecutors are seeking a 16-year term for Jereis, 39, on the upper end of guidelines that call for a sentence of 14-17 years.

Annabi, initially an opponent of the controversial $600 million Ridge Hill project, changed her vote in 2006 after Jereis secured a $60,000 consulting contract with the developer.

In all, prosecutors said, Jereis paid bribes of nearly $200,000 in cash and gifts to Annabi. In his trial, Jereis, who is married, maintained that the cash and gifts were aimed at winning the affection of the single Annabi.

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors wrote that Annabi's crimes were particularly heinous because in her position as a lawmaker she was "trusted and elected to act" in the public interest.

Annabi's lawyer, Edward V. Sapone, asked that she be spared prison time and sentenced to five years' probation -- including one year of home confinement.

Jereis' lawyer, Anthony Siano, cited the tax evasion case of former Yonkers Republican state Sen. and power broker Nicholas Spano -- Jereis' mentor. He noted that Spano was sentenced to 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 pending an appeal.

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