Rockland County, NY – After just a day and a half of deliberations, a jury has found Ramapo Town Supervisor Chris St. Lawrence guilty on 20 counts of securities and wire fraud.
Journal News reporter Steve Lieberman tweeted the verdict just after 1:30 this afternoon from the federal court house in White Plains where the trial has been taking place.
St Lawrence was found guilty on 12 counts of wire fraud and eight counts of securities fraud, reported The Journal News (http://lohud.us/2q4CLpt). Jurors found St. Lawrence innocent on one count each of securities and wire fraud.
St. Lawrence, a lifelong Ramapo resident, has held the position of town supervisor for the past 16 years and has close ties to the Jewish community. A mezuza was hung on the doorpost of his office on his very first day as town supervisor, where it has remained ever since. Critics have long charged St. Lawrence with favoritism towards the Jewish community, allowing for developers to build away freely in exchange for the bloc vote of certain segments of the Jewish community.
Witnesses said that St. Lawrence appeared stunned when the verdict was read. He was not accused of profiting personally from the scheme.
St. Lawrence was brought up on a 22 count indictment which charged him with manipulating the town’s financial records in order to secure bonds to finance his pet project, a minor league baseball stadium in Pomona, and make necessary infrastructure improvements in Ramapo. St. Lawrence pleaded not guilty on all charges and did not take the stand during the trial which began on April 20th.
Before being dismissed by President Donald Trump, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said that the charges against St. Lawrence are believed to be the first municipal bond related criminal securities charges ever brought against a public official. In an official Department of Justice release, Bharara slammed St. Lawrence for “kicking truth and transparency to the curb.”
Within moments of St. Lawrence’s conviction Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that St. Lawrence had violated the trust placed in him by the public when he was voted into office.
“The conclusion of this jury that the Ramapo Supervisor broke the law is a stain on the town and all of Rockland County,” said Day. “We support every effort to restore integrity to Ramapo.”