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Disgraced former state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin was admitted to federal prison in Butner, N.C., Tuesday to begin serving a 10-year sentence with notorious financier Bernard Madoff after a last-minute bid to delay his surrender was turned down by a federal judge.
McLaughlin, once one of the most powerful politicians in Queens, pleaded guilty last year to embezzling millions of dollars from labor groups, his own re-election committee and the Electchester Little League. A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed McLaughlin arrived at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex northeast of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Tuesday morning.
The facility houses 4,874 inmates, including Madoff, another infamous Queens native, who began serving a 150-year sentence at the facility earlier this month for a Ponzi scheme that cost investors billions of dollars. McLaughlin is registered in the federal prison system as prisoner No. 59431-054.
In May, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Sullivan, who called McLauglhin’s misdeeds perversely creative.
“Your conduct harkens back to another era,” Sullivan said. “It’s shameful, sure, but it just so betrays the institutions you sought to uphold.”
McLaughlin cooperated extensively with federal authorities leading up to his sentencing, including the investigation of former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, who resigned last month before pleading guilty to a federal corruption charge.
Attorneys for McLaughlin said the former labor leader deserved a reduced sentence as a result, but Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Sullivan did not agree.
On July 15, McLaughlin’s attorney, Michael Armstrong, made a request to Sullivan, requesting that the former labor leader’s July 21 surrender date be pushed back for an undisclosed reason. The request was denied and Sullivan ordered McLaughlin to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Tuesday for assignment.
At his sentencing, McLaughlin asked to be assigned to federal prison in Allenwood, Pa., so he could be close to his family and take advantage of an alcohol treatment program there.
Under federal law, the location of the prison McLaughlin will serve his sentence in was not released until the prisoner was admitted.
Once released, McLaughlin, 57, will be forced to pay 10 percent of his gross earnings to cover the more than $2 million he owes to the victims of his crimes.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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