Part 4: Hochul claims ignorance of major cases permitted her to accept corrupt cash
By: Mike Madigan
The following is the fourth in a series of reports regarding the conduct of the WNY U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. and his wife Kathy Hochul.
As per the D&C (link below): “Federal courts in the Western District of New York appear to grant an unusually high number of sentence reductions for criminals”
As per the same article in the D&C: US Attorney Hochul stated “The district as well has some of the longest sentences. “
Review of the data shows both claims are accurate:
Part four of this report is focused on two cases where harsh sentences were handed down concurrent with cash from Plaintiffs flowing into the U.S. Attorney’s wife’s campaign.
The first three released parts of this report detailed (see links below) shocking sentence reductions that occurred in two major cases involving multiple defendant where all seven of the primary defendant’s lawyers/legal teams contributed campaign cash to the US Attorney’s wife concurrent with major activity occurring in the involved cases.
In one case (Anthony Lamarand’s) contributions were made within hours of major case activity by his lawyer over a 15 month period showing a strong correlation between case activities before U.S. attorney Hochul and cash payments to the wife of the U.S. Attorney (her campaign fund).
In this fourth report a larger concern is found. In the following cases defendants were prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Hochul concurrent with campaign cash flowing into his wife’s account from the Plaintiff’s top executives.
The executives/managers making these contributions would want the harshest possible indictments and resulting sentences against these defendants. Cash being exchanged in this manor is a serious conflict of interest that must never be permitted in our U.S. justice system.
People’s lives are at stake when they are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney. The U.S. Attorney is tasked with the responsibility to not permit any appearance of conflict of interest to taint the case. This standard was not met.
The following is a summary of two cases where a conflict of interest associated with William Hochul’s office exists:
M&T Bank Robbery Federal Case against Joseph Licata:
On March 15, 2011 William Hochul announced the indictment of Joseph Licata for allegedly robbing two banks including M&T bank.
- On the same day the indictment was announced Kathy Hochul received a $1000 contribution to her campaign from David Rutecki VP M&T Bank
- Three days later Kathy Hochul received $2500 from Robert Wilmer’s Chief Executive M&T Bank.
Evans Bank Robbery Federal Case against Michael C. Makolinski:
On April 13, 2011 William Hochul announced the indictment of Michael C, Makolinski for allegedly robbing four banks including Evans bank.
- Four weeks prior to the indictment, while the Grand Jury investigation was progressing, David Nasca, CEO of Evans bank, donated $500 to Kathy Hochul.
- Two weeks after the indictment Susan Swarts, Corporate Trainer Evans Bank donated $1000 to Kathy Hochul.
Makolinski was sentenced to 15 years in Prison and was unaware money was transacted by the Plaintiff to the Prosecutor’s wife concurrent with his prosecution by him.
Licata was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was unaware money was transacted by the Plaintiff to the Prosecutor’s wife concurrent with his prosecution by him.
Review of recent sentences by U.S. Attorney Hochul for equivalent and or worse bank robberies shows Makolinski received one of the harshest sentences and Licata was at the high end. The average sentence was 6 years for bank robbery.
The following is a sampling of U.S. Attorney Hochul Bank Robbery sentencing data in close proximity to the two cases reviewed:
- April 2013 Jason Berg 6 years
- April 2013 James Nicholson 6 years
- Dec 2013 Michael Bland 4 years
- May 2014 Jeffrey Turner 3 years
- May 2014 Aaron Benn 4 years
- June 2014 Donovan Devost 8 years
- July-2014 Robert Stevenson 11 years
- August 2014 James Page 7 years
- October 2014 Jonathan Karcher 4 years
The atypical sentencing pattern noted by the D&C and USA today in Hochul’s district combined with the cash flow suggests a possible root cause for the atypical sentencing pattern that even the U.S. Attorney has admitted exists (noted above). If this were found to be true the foundation of the WNY Federal Justice system would be rocked with very serious implications.
William Hochul held great power over defendant Joseph Licata’s and Michael C, Makolinski’s indictment and the potential plea bargain that would be accepted as part of their prosecution.
The acceptance of cash by the U.S. Attorney’s wife on the same day and several days following the processing of these cases by the US Attorney’s office presents a clear and serious conflict of interest.
Inquiries to the U.S. Attorney regarding these matters have gone unanswered.
Inquiries to Kathy Hochul and her office has resulted only in the response by them that “there was no coordination between her husband’s office and these payments”.
Apparently Kathy Hochul’s defense is she is totally uninformed (ignorant) about major public cases before her husband and therefore this ignorance permitted her to cash in on those cases creating a serious conflict of interest that corrupted all cases associated with this behavior.
New York State has a history of powerful people believing they are untouchable and able to breach ethical boundaries and/or the law with no consequences (Bruno and Spitzer for example).
All too frequently the institutions, such as the news media, enable such corruption to continue by not properly or fully investigating, or failing to properly report such activities. The Buffalo News has had most of the data I am sharing and has had it for greater than two years and they have refused to report this corruption. Jerry Zremski has had this data for that time period.
Mr. Hochul is a very powerful person as US Attorney for the region who has great influence over the prosecutions of all federal cases appearing within his region. Mr. Hochul must maintain complete independence from any conflicts of interest and or the appearance of such conflicts either directly or indirectly for legal and ethical purposes.
US Attorney William Hochul has not maintained this ethical standard, and in fact, he appears to have seriously compromised those standards impacting the integrity of the Federal cases presented within his region over which he had authority. This breach must be investigated and corrected and prevented in the future.