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Ex-Manhattan Borough president guilty of tax fraud

Former Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of failure to pay income taxes for 2008 and according to a prosecutor faces up to 12 months in prison.

Stein, who served as New York City Council president from 1985 to 1994, was arrested in May along with investment adviser Kenneth Ira Starr, charged with committing a tax crime and with lying to investigators. Stein wasn't charged in Starr's investment-fraud scheme.

The former officeholder admitted one count of failing to pay his taxes knowing that he "had taxable income in excess of $1 million for such year," according to the charging document.

"I was wrong, your honor," Stein told U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis. Stein said he filed his tax return and never paid the taxes due.

"I stupidly did not pay the taxes for that year, and I take full responsibility for it," he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Harrington said conviction of a felony tax charge would have exposed Stein to as long as 37 months in prison. He faces as long as one year in prison when he is sentenced March 1 under the plea agreement, the prosecutor said in court.

"We have had time to evaluate the defendant and the circumstances of the crime," Harrington said. "I do think he's not a risk of flight." The government didn't object to Stein's being released on his own recognizance.

- Bloomberg News

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