Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that former Spring Valley Mayor NORAMIE JASMIN was found guilty in federal court today of engaging in a bribery scheme in which she negotiated a 50 percent stake for herself in a development company and $5,000 cash in exchange for her use of her office to obtain land and various government approvals to construct a community center in Spring Valley.
She was convicted after a one week bench trial before U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “This office is committed to ensuring the integrity of New York public officials at all levels and wherever they may be. Today, I announce the conviction of yet another corrupt elected official who failed to live up to her oath of office.
Former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin used her official position to influence a construction project on a parcel of public land, and she accepted bribes, including a secret fifty percent share of the project, to do so.
Like all citizens, the residents of Spring Valley deserved an honest mayor, not one who worked behind closed doors and behind their backs to sell public land and public office for private gain. I want to thank the FBI, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and the Spring Valley Police Department for their outstanding work on this important investigation.”
According to the Complaint and the Indictment filed in federal court and the evidence presented at trial:
NORAMIE JASMIN was sworn in as Mayor of the Village of Spring Valley, New York, in December 2009. From September 2011 through April 2013, JASMIN accepted bribes from an undercover FBI agent (the “UC”) and a cooperating witness working with the Government (the “CW”), on multiple occasions in exchange for official acts.
The bribe scheme centered on the development of a community center in the Village of Spring Valley whose construction costs were expected to be at least $12 million. In exchange for her vote in favor of a sale of land owned by Spring Valley to a company she believed was controlled by the UC, JASMIN demanded a secret ownership stake in the company. JASMIN also asked for an advance on her profits from the scheme and accepted a $5,000 cash payment from the CW. In support of the scheme, JASMIN directed the UC to find people to pose as bidders for the project so that the transaction would appear legitimate to the other members of the Spring Valley Board of Trustees who voted on the sale.
Over the course of two days, JASMIN met the UC and two other undercover FBI agents posing as straw bidders (the “Straw Bidders”) in hotel rooms and instructed the Straw Bidders on how to make a presentation before the Spring Valley Board of Trustees such that the Straw Bidders would lose their purported bids on the land sale. JASMIN then presided over the presentations made by the company in which she had a secret financial stake and the fake presentations that she had helped prepare.
The following day, JASMIN presided over a Village Board of Trustees meeting, during which she asked the Board for permission to negotiate the sale of Village land to the UC’s company and then voted with a “strong yes” to grant herself that permission. When questioned as to why the Board needed to vote to grant her that permission, JASMIN remarked that she “cannot sit behind closed doors with a developer to negotiate on behalf of the Board,” precisely what she did in the days preceding that vote.
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JASMIN, 51, of Spring Valley, was found guilty of one count of mail fraud and one count of extortion. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
JASMIN is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge McMahon on August 7, 2015 at 10 a.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and Chief Paul Modica and the Spring Valley Police Department.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division and Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas B. Bloom and Jessica K. Feinstein are in charge of the prosecution.