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Criminal Charges Filed Against Lafazan

By Niall Fitzgerald

Another criminal complaint against Nassau Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D-Syosset) was filed this past Tuesday with the District Attorney and Board of Ethics. The Criminal Complaint detailed how a $100,000 loan given to Lafazan by a billionaire and longtime political donor was concealed by Lafazan, and constitutes an illegal campaign gift. Lafazan took the $100K, claiming it was for a "graduate school degree" he was pursuing. The "loan" was solicited and taken by Lafazan from billionaire and longtime political donor Bryan "Hunt" Lawrence of Centre Island. But then Lafazan then put $160,000 into his 2022 congressional campaign. The $100K constitutes "an illegal gift" under the Nassau County Charter, which limits "gifts" or "loans" to no more than a value of $75, according to the charges. What is clear is that Lafazan took the money anyway - and then tried to hide it. Lafazan filed a false financial disclosure in 2021, with the Board of Ethics that excluded the loan. Then, in 2022, Lafazan failed to file any disclosure until after being notified that a resident had requested access to the document. “Lafazan broke the law when he accepted an illegal $100,000 gift - and then tried to hide it by lying on his financial disclosure," stated Paolo Pironi, the resident who filed the complaint. "He thinks we're all stupid. Lafazan must be held accountable for this criminal behavior,” A separate complaint was previously filed for alleged misconduct with the Federal Elections Commission by former Democrat candidate for Congress Robert Zimmerman. The complaint alleged that Lafazan used the loan as a "straw donation" to ilegally filter other people's money into his campaign - in violation of federal contribution limits. Lafazan funneled $160,000 into his 2022 congressional campaign, claiming they were all his "personal funds." “The FEC should investigate whether the initial loan was itself intended to influence and be funneled to the campaign or whether it was simply intended to free up other funds for the campaign,” said the FEC Complaint. Lafazan could be subject to several penalties, including more than $10,000 in fines, a class A misdemeanor, and additional action by the district attorney for submitting knowingly false information regarding his finances under oath. "This unethical behavior by Lafazan is out of control," said Pironi. "We need a normal elected official to focus on protecting our quality of life, not a politician looking to play House of Cards."


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