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Huntley indicted on criminal cover-up charges involving her charity

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New York State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) was indicted Monday on a variety of criminal charges in what the state attorney general said was a conspiracy to thwart his office’s investigation into a charity she founded that never performed services.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Huntley allegedly took part in a “scheme to steal taxpayer dollars in a sham not-for-profit agency that provided no public services.”

Huntley, 74, is charged with tampering with physical evidence and falsifying business records and conspiracy in the fifth degree. Each felony carries a maximum sentence of l-1/3 to four years in prison.

She turned herself in early Monday to answer charges at the Nassau County district attorney’s office.

Besides Huntley, the new indictment charges a close aide and her niece with stealing money from a member item sponsored by the senator and a third person with helping in the cover-up

The latest charges are set out in what is legally known as a superseding indictment because it follows a previous indictment in December that named her niece and three other associates for allegedly squandering thousands of dollars in a member item allocated to her charity. Huntley was not charged in that indictment.

“Falsifying documents, conspiracy and deliberately tampering with an open investigation are serious crimes,” Schneiderman told a Manhattan news conference Monday

The investigation was into Parent Workshop Inc., a not-for-profit founded by Huntley, which is accused of funneling $29,950 in public money to the senator’s aide, Patricia Savage, and to the senator’s niece, Lynn Smith, according to the indictment,

According to the indictment, after learning of the probe, Huntley personally wrote a template for a false, backdated letter designed to fool investigators into believing that the Parent Workship had conducted workshops that never took place. Parent Workshop then submitted this letter to the attorney general’s office in response to a subpoena.

The superseding indictment contends that David R. Gantt falsified records to indicate that he was paid as a consultant for conducting workshops that never took place.

“My office partnership with the Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is designed to combat corruption in the public sector and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect every penny of taxpayer money,” Schneiderman said.

Huntley, who was first elected in 2006, is facing two opponents in the Democratic primary next month.

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