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Ex-Senator Spano Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Nicholas Spano, the former state senator and Westchester power broker from Yonkers pleaded guilty in federal court in White Plains Friday to  charges of filing fraudulent tax returns. He admitted failing to report more than $52,000 income from his real estate business.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison, but Spano, in reaching a deal with prosecutors, will likely be sentenced to between 12 and 18 months. Half of that term could be served at home, U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel said. He will be sentenced June 11, and has been released on bond.

“Former Sen. Nicholas Spano is the latest in a regrettably long line of lawmakers turned lawbreakers," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a press release. "When elected officials put padding their pockets above the law, they tarnish our government and undermine people’s faith in their public servants. We will not tolerate this conduct and will continue to aggressively prosecute those who engage in it.”

During a break in the proceedings, Spano mingled with reporters and lawyers in the hallways of the federal courthouse. He seemed almost relieved when he pleaded guilty to failing to report a $45,000 in real estate commission to a White Plains real estate developer in 2004. He also failed to report $8,000 in rental payments in 2005 and 2006.

Spano served 10 terms in the state senate, representing the 35th district, which covers Yonkers, Greenburgh and its villages, Mount Pleasant and Pleasantville. His last successful election, in 2004, dragged on for months in a bruising battle with Andrea Stewart-Cousins. When that election count was finally settled, Spano won by 18 votes. Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) defeated him in the next go-round.

Spano, a Westchester power broker who served as chairman of the Westchester Republican Committee, is the oldest of 16 children from a large family of politicians. His brother Mike, who switched parties to become a Democrat after years of serving as a Republican in the state assembly, was elected mayor of Yonkers in November and took office just weeks ago. Nicholas Spano's father, Leonard, was the Westchester County clerk. (The former County Executive Andy Spano, is not a relation.)

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