ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 22 (UPI) — The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was hit with a major blow Thursday with the revelation that two former aides and several others have been charged with several criminal offenses.
Prosecutors unsealed a 79-page indictment on Thursday that names Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe, Cuomo’s former advisers, as defendants. A senior New York state official and six others were also named in the complaint.
The main thrust of the case is that Cuomo’s aides engaged in various unlawful activities as part of a broad effort to lure businesses to New York to improve the state’s economy. This includes, prosecutors allege, paying bribes and committing fraud.
Percoco was Cuomo’s executive deputy secretary and Howe was an effective lobbyist and close adviser to the governor. Percoco and seven others face 12 criminal counts — including conspiracy to commit fraud, extortion, soliciting and paying bribes and lying to federal agents.
Charged along with Percoco are Alain Kaloyeros, Peter Kelly, Jr., Steven Aiello, Joseph Gerardi, Louis Ciminelli, Michael Laipple and Kevin Schuler. Kaloyeros was president and CEO at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute.
Percoco and five of the six charged with him were arrested Thursday morning.
Howe faces eight charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion.
Prosecutors said the offenses committed by the defendants were part of two “overlapping criminal schemes.” Percoco, the indictment says, took more than $300,000 in bribes from two companies between 2012 and this year. Those bribes were allegedly arranged by Howe.
Some of the others named in the complaint were the ones who paid out the bribes, prosecutors say.
The charges are the result of a lengthy federal investigation into business practices inside the governor’s office.
Cuomo did not immediately respond to the charges Thursday.