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John Venditto seeks delay in trial on kickback allegations

Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto,

Former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, above, as he headed into a Nassau courthouse in June, has asked a judge to delay is trial for about 2 months in an alleged bribery and kickback scheme. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, accused in an alleged kickback and bribery scheme along with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife Linda, has requested a delay in their trial of about two-months.

Federal prosecutors’ recent filing of 21 new counts of felony securities fraud against Venditto means more time is needed to prepare, his attorney, Marc Agnifilo, of Manhattan, wrote in a Wednesday letter to U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack.

The trial of Venditto and the Manganos was scheduled to start Jan. 16. In addition to securities fraud, Venditto was charged with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and making false statements; Mangano with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, and extortion; and Linda Mangano with conspiracy, extortion, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.

Venditto and the Manganos have pleaded not guilty.

Agnifilo asked that the trial be delayed until the second week of March.

A delay is needed “in light of the [new charges], the voluminous discovery we anticipate receiving from the government in relation to the new charges,” Agnifilo wrote, “and the likelihood that we, and possibly other defendants, will need to file additional motions.”

Federal prosecutors and attorneys for the Manganos joined Agnifilo’s request.

In her response filed the same day, Azrack said she would deal with the request for a delay on Tuesday, the same day a status conference already had been scheduled on the case.

Azrack said she would also arraign Venditto and the Manganos on the new indictment that added Venditto’s securities fraud charges. Venditto is charged with securities fraud because he is the only person in the case to have actually been involved in the issuance of the securities.

The Manganos are not charged in connection with the securities fraud, but the new indictment includes the previous charges against them.

The three are accused of being involved in a kickback scheme to enable an unnamed former restaurateur to obtain from Oyster Bay indirect guarantees on $20 million in loans. Sources have identified the restaurateur as Harendra Singh.

The new securities charges accuse Venditto of being involved in the town’s issuance of more than $1 billion in various notes andbonds without informing prospective buyers of the loan guarantees and Oyster Bay’s potential financial liability.

In her ruling, Azrack gave the defendants until Dec. 11 to respond to previous papers filed by the government.

In those papers, the government said the alleged scheme began in 2010 when Mangano took office. Singh began to bribe Mangano, according to the papers, to get favors including the loan guarantees.

Mangano, in an effort to help Singh, asked members of his former law firm to devise a way to have the town provide the loan guarantees even though the town’s outside counsel said the New York State Constitution prohibited it, according to federal prosecutors.

“Let’s find a way to help our friend,” Mangano said to law firm colleagues, according to prosecutors.

The law firm has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

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