Court: Ex-NYC Pol’s Pension Can Be Taken

NEW YORK (AP) -

Contributions that a Bronx assemblyman made to his pension fund can be forfeited to satisfy an order imposed as part of his sentencing after his corruption conviction, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan decided the forfeiture issue as it upheld the conviction and sentencing of Eric Stevenson, who was convicted on bribery charges in 2014. They said federal law allowing the forfeiture of any property derived from a crime pre-empted a New York state law saying pension benefits shouldn’t be diminished or impaired.

Stevenson, 49, is serving a three-year prison sentence after he was convicted of accepting $22,000 in bribes in 2012 and early 2013 from businessmen seeking to influence legislation. He is due for release in April.

After the decision, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted: “Convicted politicians should lose pensions paid for by taxpayers they betrayed.”

In September 2013, Bharara moved to take away the pensions of state officials convicted of corruption.

“Convicted politicians should not grow old comfortably cushioned by a pension paid for by the very people they betrayed,” Bharara said at that time.