Former Parkchester/Castle Hill Assemblyman Peter Rivera’s ex-law partner and campaign treasurer was sentenced to five months in prison in connection with a non-profit Rivera heavily funded before Gov. Cuomo appointed him his state labor commissioner.
David Griffith was convicted last year on federal mail fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice charges stemming from his position as executive director of the Neighborhood Enhancement for Training Services, Inc. (NETS).
Rivera pumped $1.8 million in funding into the semi-moribund youth and senior organization before he stepped down from his seat in the former 76th and since redistricted 87th Assembly District to work for Cuomo. Rivera’s law firm additionally loaned $272,500 to the nonprofit, where his son worked.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, who presided over the month long jury trial last year, sentenced Griffiths, 67, of White Plains, on Friday, May 10 to two years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine.
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, gave this account of the case:
“In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating the not-for-profit and its use of the government funds it received.
“In June 2009, Griffiths knowingly provided the FBI with documents that contained materially false statements and representations in response to a subpoena issued by a grand jury sitting in the Southern District of New York.
“The materially false statements and representations were made by Griffiths in purported minutes of meetings of the NETS Board of Directors, and related to alleged authorizations he had obtained from the NETS Board to take certain payments as purported salary from NETS.
“Griffiths provided those purported minutes to the FBI in an attempt to mislead the FBI and to obstruct its investigation. Specifically, he attempted to cover-up tens of thousands of dollars he had taken from NETS with no authorization and his scheme to take almost $200,000 more.
“In September 2010, Griffiths attempted to obtain additional grant money from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York on behalf of NETS under false and fraudulent pretenses.
“Specifically, in an application he mailed to the Authority’s office in Albany, Griffiths falsely stated that neither he nor NETS and its officers and directors had been the subject of a criminal investigation, a civil investigation, or unsatisfied tax liens and judgments for the past five years.
“In fact, when Griffiths made these misrepresentations, he knew that he and NETS were under investigation by the FBI as well as by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and that NETS had unsatisfied tax liens and judgments against it.”