A former state senator from Queens who tampered with evidence to cover up the misuse of state funds will be sentenced to five years probation under the terms of a plea bargain announced yesterday.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, in a joint press release, said Shirley Huntley pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence, a felony. Huntley admitted before Supreme Court Justice Norman St. George (See Profile) that while serving in the Senate she set up a sham Nassau County nonprofit organization, Parent Workshop, that funneled nearly $30,000 in pork barrel funds to her niece and an aide.
Additionally, according to the release, when Huntley learned she was under investigation she created false, backdated letters showing that the phony not-for-profit had actually conducted workshops. Schneiderman said theft and obstruction charges are pending against Huntley’s niece, Lynn Smith, and Patricia Savage, a former aide.
Huntley, 74, has also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and faces up to two years in prison and restitution of $87,700 that she embezzled from a Queens non-profit, the Parent Information Network.
The state case was prosecuted by Emily Bradford and Jerrold Steigman of the attorney general’s public integrity unit and Thomas Schellhammer of the criminal prosecutions bureau. Huntley was represented by Sally Butler of Bayside.
The former lawmaker, a Democrat, was elected to the Senate in 2006. She was defeated in a primary last year. She is among at least 18 Albany lawmakers who have left office in the wake of criminal charges or allegations of ethical misconduct since 1999.