Informant in Smith bribery case is developer with $126 million in debt

New York State Senator Malcolm Smith is surrounded by media after exiting a U.S. court in White Plains, New York
An FBI investigation has led to the arrests of state Sen. Malcolm Smith and five other political figures for their alleged plot to use bribery to get Smith on the GOP ballot in the 2013 mayoral race. Credit: Reuters

The FBI informant in the mayoral ballot bribe investigation that has led to the arrests of state Sen. Malcolm Smith and Queens Councilman Dan Halloran is a business developer who owes Citigroup $126 million over a failed real estate project, according to various news reports.

Moses Stern, 40, is the man who helped the FBI secretly tape conversations with the senator which revealed a plot to bribe Republican county chairmen to get Smith on their ballot in the upcoming mayoral race.

But Stern is accused of plotting a fraudulent deal of his own. His realty firm borrowed tens of millions of dollars from Citigroup in 2007 to buy up 11 shopping malls, but Citigroup soon discovered that the firm lied about where the mortgage payments were going to, The Daily News reports.

In the criminal complaint against Smith, Stern is listed as a “cooperating witness” who presented himself to Smith and the others as a wealthy, connected developer who could deliver campaign money in exchange for political favors, the News reports.

In addition to Smith and Halloran, Republican County Chairman Jay Savino, Joseph Tabone, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret were all arrested Wednesday for their involvement in a scheme to get Smith on the GOP ballot. As a Democrat, Smith needed the support of three Republican county chairmen to run on the Republican party line.



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