Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Former Buffalo Lawmaker Pleads Guilty to Theft

BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that former city of Buffalo Common Council Member Brian C. Davis, 43, of Buffalo, New York, pleaded guilty to theft concerning programs receiving federal funds before Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, Jr., who is handling the prosecution, stated that Davis diverted $48,237 in city of Buffalo discretionary funds to his own use and the use of others. As a city of Buffalo Common Council Member between 2006 and 2010, Davis was responsible for distributing discretionary funds for public benefit purposes. Instead, the defendant funneled city funds through not-for-profit pass through agencies and personal friends, and ultimately, to himself. Neither Davis, nor his associates, were entitled to any of the discretionary funds.

“Elected officials owe a special duty to the public by virtue of their unique position,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “In our constitutional system of government, such officials serve as temporary caretaker of the government and its property and are responsible for deciding exactly how and how much of the hard earned money of taxpayers will be spent. This marks one of the first times in memory that an elected official actually stole money in his care. These funds were intended to benefit the community and make the city a better place to live but were instead used to line the pockets of a public official and his friends.”

“The majority of our public officials are honest and work hard to improve the lives of those they serve, but a small number make decisions for the wrong reasons,” said Steven L. Lanser, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “These people have been found in legislatures, courts, city halls, and government agencies of all types. Public officials like Mr. Davis are trusted to safeguard and protect the communities they serve. Public corruption undermines the public trust and confidence in local Western New York governments. Those who engage in this culture of corruption should know the cross-hairs of justice will continue to be focused on them.”

The indictment is the result of an investigation by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 5, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Skretny.

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