Linda Mangano is photographed outside federal court in Central Islip in...

Linda Mangano is photographed outside federal court in Central Islip in February 2019. Credit: James Carbone

Ex-Nassau County first lady Linda Mangano should serve 2 1/2 years in federal prison for lying to federal authorities about her $454,000 "no-show" job that served as a corrupt bribe to her husband Edward Mangano, the former Nassau County executive, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Mangano, 58, was found guilty at the Bethpage couple's 2019 retrial on charges that included lying to the FBI about the job as a food taster and menu planner that prosecutors said restaurateur Harendra Singh gave her as one of several bribes to Edward Mangano.

"If the $450,000 was simply Singh demonstrating his love and generosity to his longtime friends, the defendant would have told the FBI just that in the first interview, the second interview or in the last interview because, as defense counsel noted during the trial, standing alone, there is nothing illegal about accepting a no show job," prosecutors Catherine Mirabile, Christopher Caffarone and Lara Treinis Gatz said in their sentencing recommendation memorandum. "But that is not what she did. Instead, she went through great lengths to come up with work that she supposedly did to justify the salary. The lies she told were driven by an unpure motive: to conceal the bribes, keep her husband in power, and impede the grand jury’s investigation."

Linda Mangano's attorney John Carman, of Garden City, said in an email: "The government’s recommendation of thirty months in federal prison is difficult to understand given Linda’s perfect life history and years of community service. Linda was prosecuted, not because she lied, but because she was asked 900 questions and then the government spent months and millions of dollars attempting to disprove twelve of her answers."

Carman argued in his own filing last month that his client should receive community service because she "has lived in service to others" and "was swept up in something far bigger than she was."

She was facing 24 to 36 months under sentencing guidelines. Probation recommended she serve 18 months.

Prosecutors recommended last week that Edward Mangano serve 17 1/2 years in prison. The Manganos are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joan M. Azrack on April 14.

He was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, federal program bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The jury found he took several bribes from Singh while serving as county executive, including five vacations, free meals, two luxury chairs, hardwood flooring for the Manganos' bedroom and a $7,300 watch that was presented to one of their sons as a birthday gift from his parents.

In exchange, according to prosecutors, Mangano took official action in persuading Town of Oyster Bay officials to back $20 million in indirect loan guarantees for Singh, a longtime concessionaire with the town.

Defense attorneys for the Manganos argue the couple is innocent and Edward Mangano never took any official government action for Singh, a longtime family friend who showered them with gifts because he was generous -- not as bribes.

The couple's first trial ended in a mistrial. Co-defendant John Venditto, the former Oyster Bay town supervisor, who has since died, was acquitted on all charges.

The government spent "substantial" resources because of Linda Mangano's lies, prosecutors said, and her sentence should serve as a deterrent to others in public life.

"Here, to prove the defendant’s deceit and blatant lies, the government was compelled to interview countless witnesses and review, conservatively estimating, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. The cost to the government and the public was substantial because those valuable and limited federal law enforcement resources could have been directed to investigate and prosecute other serious crimes that plague our Long Island communities, such as fraud on the elderly, gang violence or opioid overdose deaths," the government said.

Prosecutors said Linda Mangano, three years after the trial, still "refuses to accept any responsibility for her crimes and shows an utter lack of remorse."

Prosecutors said it is "reasonable to infer that the defendant was well aware of the criminal relationship between her husband and Singh, and that she willingly participated in order to enrich herself and her family."

Prosecutors also rejected her attorney's arguments about her prior good works in the community.

"Indeed, the defendant’s status as the first lady of Nassau County and her service to her husband’s constituents renders her criminal conduct all the more egregious," they said.

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