N.Y. Pay-To-Play Ringleader Gets Up To Four Years

Feb 18 2011 | 3:15am ET

Henry Morris, the man at the center of New York’s pay-to-play pension scandal, was sentenced to between 16 months and four years in prison yesterday.

Morris, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in March, was sent straight to jail by New York State Justice Lewis Stone. Stone called Morris’ scheme of taking kickbacks from investment advisers, including hedge funds, in exchange for allocations from the New York State Common Retirement Fund, “evil.”

“My actions diminished the integrity of New York State’s government,” Morris said at his sentencing. “Most importantly, they caused ordinary people to question their faith in the political system.”

The case against Morris was led by former New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, now the state’s governor. His successor, Eric Schneiderman, said, “today’s sentencing decision by the court sends a strong message to New Yorkers that those who abuse positions of power to line their own pockets will be held accountable by this office.”

Morris was the top political consultant under former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who resigned after an unrelated scandal and last year pleaded guilty to corruption charges himself. Among the alternative investments firms caught up in the scandal were the Carlyle Group and Riverstone Holdings.

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