Rockland County, NY – It was the final nail in the coffin for Christopher St. Lawrence’s lengthy career as supervisor for the Town of Ramapo, with the longtime Ramapo resident sentenced to a 30 month prison term and a $75,000 fine for fraudulently financing a baseball stadium that had been voted down by taxpayers.
The Journal News (http://lohud.us/2Aj3l45) reported that St. Lawrence apologized for his actions.
“I am deeply ashamed for what I’ve done to the citizens of this community,” said St. Lawrence this afternoon after being sentenced at the federal courthouse in White Plains. “This has brought shame to my family and to me. I stand here deeply humbled.”
Lawyers on both sides of the case spent hours trying to determine if St. Lawrence’s manipulation of the town’s books to finance the baseball stadium, now known as Palisades Credit Union Park, cost taxpayers money.
Original estimates by the United States Attorney’s Office placed those losses first at $2.9 million and then at $1 million, prompting recommendations of a sentence of upward of 11 years. But Judge Cathy Siebel said yesterday that the methods used to calculate that amount were “unreliable and inconsistent” and that even the $1 million amount was likely higher than the actual losses sustained.
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2AlQxdd) St. Lawrence was found guilty on 20 counts of securities and wire fraud in May after just a day and a half of deliberations.
In addition to the prison term and the fine, St. Lawrence faces three years of supervised release. He is also one of several town officials named in a pending civil fraud case filed by the SEC.
In a statement released this afternoon, Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that elected officials must be held accountable for any misuse of taxpayer funds.
“The fraud perpetuated by former Supervisor St. Lawrence was not a ‘victimless’ crime,” said Day. “There are many victims, both in the Town of Ramapo, in Rockland County and beyond. As a county, we can only hope that the sentence handed down in federal court today closes a sad chapter in Ramapo, the largest town in Rockland. As county executive, I support every effort to restore integrity to Ramapo.”