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Corbin to plead guilty to tax evasion

Nassau County Legis. Roger Corbin appears outside federal

Nassau County Legis. Roger Corbin appears outside federal court, with his son Josh Corbin, where he claimed his innocence and said he will be vindicated. (June 9, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

Former Nassau County Legis. Roger Corbin will plead guilty Monday to a seven-count federal indictment charging him with evading taxes on $226,000 he received from a builder working on government contracts in his Westbury-New Cassel district, and then lying to a federal agent about the situation, according to a court record.

The plea was confirmed late Friday by Corbin's attorney, Thomas Liotti of Garden City. Corbin could not be reached immediately for comment.

Corbin, who as a civil rights activist helped create the 19-member Nassau Legislature in the 1990s to provide the possibility of greater minority representation in county government, was scheduled to go on trial on the charges in federal District Court in Central Islip on Feb. 8.

The former Westbury lawmaker, who served in the legislature since its inception in 1996 but lost the Democratic nomination last year in light of the indictment, has maintained his innocence after he was arrested by FBI and IRS agents in May for receiving the money.

In a statement, Corbin's attorneys Liotti and Jennifer McCann said: "This is a sad day for Roger, his family and the entire Nassau community which he so ably represented for so many years. Roger was perhaps the first African American elected to a legislative position in Nassau County . . . and he is a victim of his own dedication to public service."

The statement added, "It was the financial sacrifices which he made in being an elected official that caused these problems. We have felt and still feel that this was an unfair prosecution which should have been resolved as a civil matter."

As part of a plea agreement, Corbin would face a sentence of 12 to 18 months, McCann and Liotti said.

If he had been convicted of the charges, including three counts of filing false tax returns, three counts of income-tax evasion and one count of lying to a federal agent, he could have faced up to 11 years in prison under suggested sentencing guidelines.

Federal prosecutors John Durham and Richard Donoghue could not be reached for comment. Eastern District spokesman Robert Nardoza declined to comment.

Corbin had originally been scheduled to plead Friday before U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein at the district court in Central Islip. But the plea was moved to Monday before Magistrate William Wall, according to the court calendar.

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