State Senator Convicted on Banking Charges
NEW YORK (AP) _ State Sen. Andrew Jenkins was convicted Monday by a federal jury in a scheme to help a supposed Texas financier launder $150,000 in cash through a bank in Zaire.
The financier was really an undercover FBI agent, who arrested Jenkins after giving him a briefcase with the money at a Manhattan hotel in August 1987.
Jenkins, 48, was charged under a seldom-used law that makes it a crime to accept deposits without authority to engage in banking business in the United States. He also was charged with using the telephone in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent to promote a crime.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Charles Metzner set July 26 for sentencing.
Jenkins’ seat became vacant upon his conviction.
Jenkins, a Democrat who represents the borough of Queens, showed no emotion as the verdict was announced and left the Manhattan courtroom without commenting.
Prosecutors said Jenkins took the money to conduct business with the Afro- American Development Bank in Zaire. Prosecutors said he was part owner of the bank.
The defense said Jenkins never owned a bank in Zaire but took the money as an investment to create one.
Defense attorney Samuel Abady said the charge against Jenkins was a ″made- up crime.″
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Standiford said the statute had been used before, most recently about two years ago in another money-laundering case, which also ended in a conviction.
Another judge had, in 1988, dismissed an additional charge that Jenkins had violated a law requiring disclosures to U.S. Customs of overseas bank transactions of more than $10,000. The count was dropped on grounds that Jenkins had not taken the money out of the country.
The case began in May 1987 when a man named Louie Moore pleaded guilty to selling stolen and counterfeit checks and agreed to give the FBI information about 12 people, including Jenkins, Standiford said.
He said Moore introduced Jenkins to the undercover agent posing as Dan Garth, a Texan with cash to be ″cleaned up.″
Taped conversations revealed that Jenkins devised a plan to put Garth’s money in the bank in Zaire, then use it to finance a lumber project there, with profits going to Garth, the prosecutor said.
Abady described Jenkins as a diligent legislator who had worked to promote African trade.
He dismissed Moore as a ″thief and con man who cut a deal.″