Ex-Dem Party Boss Indicted On Tax Evasion Charges
NEW YORK (AP) _ The former chief of the Democratic Party in the borough of Brooklyn, convicted last year of giving an illegal gratuity to U.S. Rep. Mario Biaggi, was indicted Thursday on tax fraud, conspiracy and other charges.
Meade Esposito, 81; Harry Dickran, president of Beaumont Offset Corp. of Farmingdale; and Phyllis Zito, Esposito’s daughter and secretary-treasu rer of the company were charged in the indictment.
Esposito was described as a silent partner in the company.
According to the indictment, the defendants paid more than $200,000 in bribes and kickbacks to insure that Beaumont received profitable printing contracts.
The defendants laundered more than $250,000 in cash through a phony invoice scam to attain cash for the bribes and personal use, U.S. Attorney Andrew Maloney said at a news conference.
The charges cover seven years from 1971 through February.
They are an offshoot of the investigation that led to Esposito’s conviction last September for giving an illegal gratuity to Biaggi and interstate travel charges.
″While I am sympathetic to his age and frailties, there is no way to leave him out of these charges while he is still in this life,″ Maloney said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hattem said Esposito attended meetings where money laundering was discussed, mediated disputes and ″divided up the booty.″
In the previous case, Esposito, a powerful party boss from 1969 until his retirement in 1984, was found guilty of paying for two vacations taken by Biaggi, a 10-term Democratic congressman from the Bronx, and Biaggi’s girlfriend.
In return, Biaggi used his influence to lobby city and federal officials on behalf of financially ailing Coastal Dry Dock and Repair Inc., the second- largest client of Esposito’s insurance company, Serres Visone & Rice.
Wiretaps played in open court showed the trips were actually paid by Beaumont.
Biaggi, 69, was convicted of illegally accepting gratuities but was cleared of more serious bribery and conspiracy charges.
Judge Jack B. Weinstein sentenced Esposito to a suspended two-year prison term and fined him $500,000, citing Esposito’s frail health.
He and Biaggi, who is currently on trial in federal court in Manhattan in the Wedtech Corp. racketeering and bribery case, are appealing the convictions.
In the Beaumont case, each defendant is charged with six counts of violating interstate travel laws to commit bribery, five counts of making false statements on Beaumont’s tax returns and one count of conspiracy to make false statements on tax returns.
Dickran and Mrs. Zito were additionally charged with three counts of making false statements on their personal income tax returns.
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison on the interstate travel and conspiracy charges and three years on the tax charges.