The man at the center of New York’s pay-to-play pension fund scandal, which ensnared several prominent alternative investment firms, saw 13 charges against him dismissed on Thursday.
Unfortunately for Henry Morris, a judge let another 77 counts stand in a case that has thrown an unfriendly light on the business of placement agents. Morris, a top aide to former New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, is accused of selling access to the Empire State’s $132.6 billion pension fund. Several top hedge funds and private equity funds, including the Carlyle Group, Quadrangle Group and Riverstone Holdings have settled with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for allegedly participating in the pay-to-play scheme, most unwittingly.
According to Cuomo, Morris profited to the tune of $19 million from the scheme. Six other people, including the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s former chief investment officer, David Loglisci, had pleaded guilty in the case.
Among the charges against Morris dismissed were counts of grand larceny, scheme to defraud and falsifying records. The grand larceny count carried a possible 25-year sentence, but so does the enterprise corruption charge that New York State Supreme Court Justice Lewis Stone let stand.
Morris was a “central figure of the criminal enterprise,” Stone wrote in his 85-page decision, ruling that there was “sufficient” evidence “to sustain a finding that Morris conducted the criminal activities alleged in the indictment.”