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Long IslandNassau

State elections board sends possible felony cases to prosecutors

The state Board of Elections' new chief enforcement officer said Friday that she has given prosecutors seven cases involving potential felonies.

Risa Sugarman, who heads the board's investigative arm, said the cases were referred to local district attorneys or the state attorney general between September -- when her unit was created -- and last month.

She declined to specify the campaign finance or election law crimes that may have been committed, or say whether any involved Long Island political candidates or committees.

The Daily News first reported the referrals early this week.

"I think they are all serious cases," Sugarman said in a telephone interview. "I can't say what prosecutors will do with them, but I believe they all have possible felony charges."

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo created Sugarman's office in a compromise with the State Legislature that resulted in the closure of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. Cuomo had created the Moreland panel in 2013 in response to growing criticism of the state's campaign finance laws.

Local campaign finance activity has since come under scrutiny. Newsday reported in February that Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves violated state election laws by failing to file dozens of reports over nine years.

Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) has since created her campaign committee for the first time and has filed her missing disclosures.

Last month, Newsday reported that eight Nassau GOP clubs that contributed a total of nearly $500,000 to local candidates between 2006 and this year violated state election laws by failing to report thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas subsequently subpoenaed campaign finance documents for those clubs and two others, documents show. Singas' office declined to say Friday whether it had received criminal referrals from Sugarman's office.

"While I can't comment on specific investigations, we have been in regular contact with the Board of Elections enforcement counsel and our work is ongoing," Singas spokesman Brendan Brosh said in an email.

John Ryan, an attorney for Nassau Republicans, did not respond to a request for comment. An attorney general spokesman declined to comment.


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