Key Players, Criminally Convicted, of the Dutchess County Corrupted Paroli Sr., Regime.
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July 8, 2000
William Paroli Sr. — The former chairman of the Dutchess County and Town of Poughkeepsie Republican committee pleaded guilty Feb. 18 to a single county of conspiracy to commit extortion. He was first arrested in May 1999 and at one time faced a 19-count indictment. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison, fined $5,000 and ordered to make restitution to the town.
Robert Kortright — A deputy building inspector for the Town of Poughkeepsie, Kortright was convicted by a federal jury of one count of bribery and one count of extortion in October 1998. He served most of his sentence of one-year in prison before being released.
Jim Pickles — The Town of Poughkeepsie building department director, Pickles pleaded guilty to one count of bribery after the completion of Kortright’s trial. Pickles resigned his job with the town shortly before Kortright’s arrest. He was sentenced to home confinement and probation.
Fred Andros — Superintendent of the town’s water department, Andros pleaded guilty in May 1999 to a single charge of conspiracy. He had resigned from his town job just hours before entering into the plea deal in federal court in White Plains. He was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Andros also faces a second-degree murder charge in connection with the killing of Susan Fassett.
Andrew Ceroni — A retired quarry salesman, Ceroni pleaded guilty to two charges on separate occasions. In September, Ceroni pleaded guilty to one count of perjury. In December, he pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy. He has not been sentenced.
George Knapp — The former water maintenance supervisor in the Town of Poughkeepsie, Knapp pleaded guilty in federal court Feb. 16 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He has not been sentenced.
Deferred prosecution agreements
Herbert Redl — Arrested in February 1999 on bribery charges, Redl in June entered into an agreement with prosecutors. Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. Attorney’s office agreed that it would not prosecute Redl if he stayed out of legal trouble for six months. The terms of that deal were met in January 2000 and the case against Redl was dropped.
Frank Redl — The former attorney for the Town of Poughkeepsie, Frank Redl entered into a deferred prosecution deal with federal prosecutors. Under the terms of the deal, Redl will not be prosecuted if he stays out of trouble for 12 months.
Basil "Bill" Raucci -- The Town of Poughkeepsie Assessor, FBI's star witness for the State and Federal probe into corruption, who was MISSING!!!
Thomas and Betty Espie -- Who sold the refurbished warehouse on Tucker Drive to the town in 1996 for $6.95 million, transferred $1.6 million out of their bank account to "an undisclosed location" shortly after the town took possession of the building on Sept. 18, 1996. The lawsuit had earlier alleged that the Espies conspired with former town and county Republican Committee chairman William Paroli Sr. and other former town officials to fraudulently inflate the price of renovations to the facility by $1.6 million. However, the new document, filed recently in federal court, alleges for the first time that a specific transaction involving the funds existed and that the Espies collected the overcharge and then purposefully tried to conceal it. Reached at her home on Thursday, Betty Espie declined an opportunity to comment.
Oct. 4, 1997: Town of Poughkeepsie Assessor Basil ‘‘Bill’’ Raucci disappears, failing to return to his family’s Highland home.
Oct. 6: Police, including the FBI, begin to search for Raucci. The search focuses on the Hudson River after a vehicle Raucci used is found near a restaurant on the Ulster County side of the river.
Oct. 10: Raucci’s body is found by a passerby along the shore of the Hudson River. An autopsy determines drowning was the cause of death.
March 5: Jim Pickles, Town of Poughkeepsie building inspector and director of the building department, resigns from his job.
March 11: Robert Kortright, the Town of Poughkeepsie deputy building inspector, is arrested by federal officials and charged with bribery and extortion.
March 13: Town fires Kortright.
May 20: Federal indictments unsealed in Kortright’s case — a day after a federal grand jury indicts the Poughkeepsie official. The indictments mirror charges made in March — that Kortright solicited a bribe from a company seeking a certificate of occupancy.
Sept. 28: Following several delays in the case, Kortright’s trial begins in federal court in White Plains.
Oct. 6: Kortright is convicted of one count each of bribery and extortion.
Oct. 14: Pickles pleads guilty to one count of bribery after signing a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
Feb. 11, 1999: Dutchess County businessman Herbert Redl is arrested by federal investigators and charged with bribery in connection with a $1,000 payoff he allegedly made to the Town of Poughkeepsie assessor. Authorities claim the payment was made in August 1998.
March 4, 1998: Pickles is sentenced to four months home confinement, three years probation and fined $3,000.
April 21: Kortright is sentenced to one year and a day in prison, as well as two years of supervised release, for his role in the scandal.
May 26: William Paroli Sr., Dutchess County elections commissioner and chairman of the county and Town of Poughkeepsie Republican organizations, is arrested by federal authorities on charges of extortion and bribery. Federal authorities allege that Paroli, Raucci and others extorted money from contractors who wanted to do business in the town.
May 27: Fred Andros, superintendent of the town’s water department, pleads guilty to a single charge of conspiracy. He admits in federal court in White Plains that he extorted money from contractors on Paroli’s behalf. Andros’ resignation from his town job was accepted by the Poughkeepsie town board the night before he pleaded guilty.
June 16: Businessman Herbert Redl, charged with bribery, signs a deal with the federal government. Under the terms of the deal, Redl would not be prosecuted if he remained out of trouble for six months.
Sept. 8: A federal grand jury returns an eight-count indictment against William Paroli Sr. The indictment’s charges include: conspiracy to commit extortion, extortion, conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes, acceptance of bribes, embezzlement, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.
Sept. 29: Andrew J. Ceroni of Hyde Park pleads guilty in federal court to one count of perjury. Ceroni admits that he lied to a federal grand jury when he was questioned about changes in the tax assessment of Trap Rock quarry.
Dec. 1: The United States Attorney in White Plains announces a new 16-count indictment against William Paroli Sr. The superceding indictment filed in federal court charges Paroli with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion; seven counts of extortion; one count of bribery, one count of embezzlement; two counts of mail fraud and four counts of witness tampering. Court papers filed in connection with the case allege that Raucci, Paroli, Andros and others were engaged in a scheme to shake down contractors doing business in the town.
Dec. 22: Ceroni, the retired New York Trap Rock salesman, pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy. According to court papers, Ceroni’s guilty plea stems from his efforts to solicit payoffs from contractors working in the Town of Poughkeepsie from 1993 to May 1999.
Dec. 29: Fred Andros attempts to commit suicide, according to police, as authorities arrive at his Hyde Park home to serve a search warrant in connection with a murder. Greene County resident Dawn Silvernail is charged in connection with the murder. Police allege Silvernail and Andros were responsible for killing Susan Fassett, the Town of Poughkeepsie’s personnel director. Andros is taken to Westchester Medical Center to be treated for a gunshot wound to the head.
Jan. 6, 2000: A Dutchess County grand jury indicts Andros and Silvernail. The two are charged with second-degree murder in connection with Fassett’s murder. Authorities say they found no credible connection between the corruption scandal and Fassett’s murder, other than the involvement of Andros.
Feb. 4: Federal prosecutors file another superseding indictment in their case against William Paroli Sr. The revised indictment includes 19 counts, but some of the more serious charges against Paroili are dropped. The indictment includes two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion, seven counts of mail fraud, six counts of extortion and four counts of tampering with a witness.
Feb. 15: Frank Redl, former attorney for the Town of Poughkeepsie, enters into a deferred prosecution deal with federal prosecutors. Under the terms of the deal, Redl will not be prosecuted if he stays out of trouble for 12 months. Court documents indicate Redl admitted he had lied to a federal grand jury.
Feb. 16: George Knapp — the former water maintenance supervisor in the Town of Poughkeepsie — pleads guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Feb. 17: Andros enters a plea of not guilty at his arraignment on a charge of murder.
Feb. 18: William Paroli Sr., pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. Federal authorities drop all other charges against him.
March 27: Silvernail pleads guilty to one count of second-degree murder. She acknowledges she shot Fassett and she agrees to testify against Andros.
June 23: Andros, the former Town of Poughkeepsie water superintendent, is sentenced to 33 months in prison. A date for his trial on the murder charge has not been set.
July 7: William Paroli Sr. is sentenced to 21 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. In proceedings in federal court in White Plains, Paroli also is ordered to pay $19,300 in restitution to the Town of Poughkeepsie and to pay a $5,000 fine.