NEW YORK—Former Queens Senator Shirley Huntley admitted Wednesday that she falsified evidence to obstruct an investigation into her aide and niece for stealing grant money that was ultimately siphoned into a fake nonprofit.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli made the announcement of Huntley’s plea on Wednesday, saying that she admitted to tampering with physical evidence.
Huntley, a Democrat, and three others associated with Parent Workshop, the sham nonprofit she set up, “funneled member item funds intended to benefit the public to the senator’s aide and to the senator’s niece,” reads a press release from the two officials. Huntley was charged with falsifying evidence to block an investigation into the matter.
A probe found that Huntley made a “handwritten template for a false, backdated letter” that was intended to deceive investigators that the Parent Workshop carried out workshops when they never actually took place, the release stated. Huntley’s aide and niece pocketed around $29,950, New York officials said.
The former senator also pleaded guilty in January on fraud charges in federal court and is awaiting sentencing in April. In the prior case, Huntley was accused of stealing taxpayer money from another nonprofit, the Parent Information Network, before she admitted to stealing more than $87,000 in state grants.
Prosecutors recommended that she receive a five-year probation period in exchange for her guilty plea instead of potentially serving between 18 and 24 months in prison.
“It is unconscionable that an elected official would deliberately tamper with a law enforcement investigation into the theft of taxpayer dollars,” Schneiderman said in a statement in the release.
The attorney general added that the former senator’s guilty plea “sends a strong message that those who abuse their positions to rip off taxpayers and tamper with investigations will be prosecuted.”
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 21 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.