Central Islip, NY - October 20, 2016 - A 13-count indictment was unsealed this morning in federal court in Central Islip charging Edward Mangano and John Venditto with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and honest services fraud, as well as the related substantive counts, and charging Mangano with extortion.
The indictment also charges Edward Mangano, Linda Mangano, and Venditto with obstructing justice, and Linda Mangano and Venditto with making false statements. Since January 2010, Edward Mangano has served as the Nassau County Executive. Since January 1998, Venditto has served as the Town of Oyster Bay (the TOB or Town) Supervisor.
The defendants were arrested this morning and will be arraigned today before the Hon. Sandra J. Feuerstein, United States District Judge, at the United States Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York. Earlier today, federal agents also executed two search and seizure warrants at the Manganos’ residence in Bethpage, New York, and at the County Executive’s Office in Mineola, New York.
The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York Field Office (IRS-CI).
“Yet again, we announce a breach of trust by two of our public officials. In 2010, Nassau County voters granted Edward Mangano the opportunity to serve by electing him their highest ranking official in the County. Similarly, in 1998, Town of Oyster Bay voters granted John Venditto the honor of electing him their chief elected official. Yet, as alleged in the indictment, both of these men undermined the very system of laws they promised to uphold by furthering their personal interests rather than the best interests of their constituents. Sadly, Mangano also enlisted the assistance of his wife in an attempt to shield his wrongdoing from public scrutiny,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “However, no one is above the law, and the defendants will now be held to account for their actions.” Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the FBI, IRS-CI, the agencies responsible for leading the government’s investigation, and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for their valuable assistance.
“As detailed in the indictment, Edward Mangano and John Venditto abused their positions as the highest ranking elected officials in Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay, respectively – at least, until today. Those involved in this scheme allegedly lied about their conduct to investigators, fanning the flames of a fire that became too large to contain. Public corruption wastes countless tax dollars every year, threatens the credibility of governmental institutions, and opens the door for further criminal activity,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
“The public expects its elected officials to serve them honestly and honorably,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Kitchen. “When public officials abuse the power they have been entrusted for their own personal benefit, they violate the public trust and betray their constituents. As a law enforcement agency, IRS Criminal Investigation takes allegations of public corruption very seriously, and we are always ready to contribute to an investigation when the allegation has a financial component.”
As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, between January 2010 and February 2015, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, TOB Supervisor John Venditto, and others, engaged in a scheme to receive bribes and kickbacks from a businessman and restaurateur, identified in the indictment as Co-Conspirator #1, in exchange for performing official actions to benefit Co-Conspirator #1 in connection with that individual’s businesses in Nassau County and the TOB. The official actions included: (a) the TOB’s guarantee of certain loans that Co-Conspirator #1 received from a bank and lender in connection with Co-Conspirator #1’s status as a TOB concessionaire (the “TOB Loan Scheme”); and (b) Nassau County’s award of certain contracts to Co-Conspirator #1’s businesses (the “Nassau County Contracts Scheme”). In connection with these schemes, Mangano and Venditto are each charged with conspiring to commit federal program bribery and honest services wire fraud and related substantive counts, and Mangano is charged with extortion under color of official right.
II. The TOB Loan Scheme
The indictment charges that Co-Conspirator #1 paid bribes and kickbacks to Edward Mangano and John Venditto in exchange for, among other things, the officials’ assistance in obtaining the Town’s guarantee of four loans totaling approximately $20 million that two of Co-Conspirator #1’s businesses received from a bank (identified in the indictment as the Bank) and from a private corporate financing company (identified in the indictment as the Lender). As detailed in the government’s bail letter filed today, the first loan, which closed on June 9, 2010, was a $1,500,000 line of credit from the Bank. The second loan, which closed on May 25, 2011, was a $3,400,000 loan from the Bank. The third loan, which closed on November 18, 2011, was a $7,843,138 loan from the Lender. The fourth loan, which closed on June 22, 2012, was a $12,273,748 loan from the Lender. In late 2012 and 2013, Co-Conspirator #1 sought an additional loan of approximately $12 million from the Lender in connection with improvements to be made to Co-Conspirator #1’s facilities at two Town beaches – this loan was not ultimately extended.
Edward Mangano and John Venditto used their official positions to influence and reach a particular outcome, i.e., the Town’s guarantee of the loans for Co-Conspirator #1. As a result of the guarantees, were Co-Conspirator #1’s entities to default on the loans, the Town would be responsible for repaying the Bank and/or the Lender the entire amount of the loans. In or about November 2015, Co-Conspirator #1 defaulted on the repayment of the two loans with the Lender and the loans’ holder, which had previously been assigned the loans from the Lender, demanding that the TOB remit payment on the outstanding money due under the loan documents.
III. The Nassau County Contracts Scheme
As set forth in the indictment, beginning in approximately late 2011 through December 2012, Co-Conspirator #1, through certain business entities, was awarded lucrative contracts by Nassau County, including certain contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide food services to Nassau County agencies. Specifically, as detailed in the government’s bail letter, Nassau County awarded two contracts to business entities of Co-Conspirator #1: a 2012 Nassau County contract to supply bread and rolls to the Nassau County Correctional Center (the Bread and Rolls Contract), and November/December 2012 daily purchase orders with the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to supply emergency food services to OEM following Hurricane Sandy (the OEM Emergency Food Services Contract). The Bread and Rolls contract was valued at approximately $200,000 and the OEM Emergency Food Services Contract was valued at approximately $237,000. Edward Mangano used his official position to effectuate a specific outcome, i.e., the award of these contracts to Co-Conspirator #1.
IV. The Receipt of Bribes and Kickbacks
As set forth in the indictment and, in greater detail, in the government’s bail letter, Co-Conspirator #1 provided Linda Mangano with a “no-show” job for approximately three and one-half years, from April 2010 to August 2014, at a restaurant owned and operated by Co-Conspirator #1, identified in the indictment as Restaurant #2. The payments from Co-Conspirator #1 to Linda Mangano in connection with her “no-show” job totaled over $450,000. In addition, Co-Conspirator #1 paid for various hotel and travel expenses for the Mangano family, including vacations to Niagara Falls in 2010, Marco Island Florida in December 2011, St. Thomas in July 2012, Turks and Caicos in July 2013, and Amelia Island, Florida in July 2014, as well as an ergonomic office chair in January 2010 ($3,371.90), massage chair from Brookstone in September 2012 ($3,623.73), a Panerai Luminor watch in November 2012 ($7,304), and hardwood flooring and its installation in the Manganos’ bedroom in January 2013 ($3,701.81). Co-Conspirator #1 also provided free meals to Edward Mangano and his family and associates.
From July 2011 to December 2013, Co-Conspirator #1 additionally provided Venditto and his family members and associates with free limousine service. Co-Conspirator #1 also allowed Venditto to hold fundraisers at Co-Conspirator #1’s restaurants at a discounted rate and permitted Venditto to use a conference room in the basement of one of Co-Conspirator #1’s restaurants.
V. The Obstruction of Justice
The indictment further alleges that Edward Mangano, Linda Mangano, and Venditto engaged in obstruction of justice in connection with their attempts to cover-up their wrongdoing, and Linda Mangano and Venditto are also charged with making false statements to federal law enforcement authorities.
As alleged in the indictment, between January 2015 and the present, the Manganos engaged in a conspiracy intended to obstruct a grand jury investigation. Specifically, they repeatedly met with Co-Conspirator #1, and fabricated stories in an attempt to explain Linda Mangano’s employment by Co-Conspirator #1 and Co-Conspirator #1’s payments of gifts and vacation expenses to the Mangano family.
On January 13, 2015, FBI agents interviewed Linda Mangano at her residence. On May 20 and 24, 2015, prosecutors and FBI and IRS agents interviewed her at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Central Islip. On all three occasions, Linda Mangano was advised that lying to federal officials was a federal crime. Nevertheless, on each occasion, when asked about her employment by Co-Conspirator #1, Linda Mangano fabricated examples of work she allegedly did for Co-Conspirator #1.
On October 23, 2016 and December 18, 2015, prosecutors and FBI and IRS agents interviewed Venditto at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Central Islip. At the beginning of each interview, Venditto was advised that lying to federal officials constituted a federal crime. During the December 18, 2015 interview, Venditto stated that he had not received anything of value, including the payment for limousine services, from Co-Conspirator #1. Records from the limousine company, bank records for Co-Conspirator #1, and interviews with numerous witnesses, establish that Co-Conspirator #1 paid for the limousine service.
If convicted, Edward Mangano and John Venditto each face a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years for each honest services wire fraud charge, the conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud charge, up to 10 years for the federal program bribery charge, up to five years for the conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Edward Mangano faces a term of up to 20 years for the extortion charge. Edward Mangano, Linda Mangano, and John Venditto each face a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years for each obstruction of justice charge, and up to five years for each false statement charge. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine M. Mirabile, Raymond A. Tierney, and Lara Treinis Gatz are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Madeline O’Connor of the Office’s Civil Division is responsible for the forfeiture of assets.
North Massapequa, NY