Terry lawyers push for May 14 sentencing date

Janelle Clausen
Gerard Terry was first arrested on a state tax fraud charge in April 2016. (Photo from Nassau County District Attorney's office)
Gerard Terry was first arrested on a state tax fraud charge in April 2016. (Photo from Nassau County District Attorney's office)

Lawyers for former North Hempstead Democratic Chairman Gerard Terry are pushing for an earlier sentencing date in his federal tax evasion case in hopes of avoiding extra jail time.

Federal Judge Joanna Seybert had adjourned the matter to May 29, but Stephen Scaring, a lawyer for Terry, sent a letter asking her to change the sentencing to May 14 so it would precede sentencing by a state court on related tax charges on May 15.

In the letter he said when a defendant is sentenced in Nassau County “the sentence is immediately carried out,” meaning that if Terry were to be incarcerated because of the state tax fraud case, it could subject him to extra jail time not concurrent with whatever the federal court rules.

“While the state court has committed a sentence concurrent with whatever sentence Your Honor may impose, the defendant will not receive the benefit of that commitment unless his state sentence follows the sentence that Your Honor may impose,” Scaring wrote.

“I believe the defendant’s reason for opposing this continuance far outweighs any problems that may be incurred by the government.”

Terry, of Roslyn Heights, pleaded guilty in October to nearly $1 million in federal tax evasion, which carries with it a maximum five years imprisonment, restitution to the IRS, and a fine of up to $100,000.

Prosecutors previously said Terry, an attorney, avoided paying nearly $1.4 million in income tax despite earning over $250,000 per year since 2000 while working for various government entities like the Town of North Hempstead, villages of Port Washington and Manorhaven, and other agencies.

Ultimately, Terry pleaded guilty to the second count of his indictment, which stated that he did “knowingly and willfully attempt to evade and defeat substantial income tax due and owing by him to the United States and failed to pay $992,057.”

Terry also pleaded guilty in September in county court to a count of criminal tax fraud and failing to pay $3,000 in state taxes.

Terry was charged with felony tax fraud for allegedly omitting income from his 2013, 2014 and 2015 state tax returns, as well as three counts of offering a false instrument.

Scaring’s attempt to move the sentencing date to May 14 follows the submission of more than 100 letters from Terry’s associates to Seybert in hopes of securing a lower sentence as prosecutors push for a 54-month sentence.

While describing Terry as a family “man of strong character and commitment” who is “always prepared to assist others in their time of need,” they noted Terry’s “multiple cardiovascular conditions” which “require frequent and regular clinical follow-up.”

Among the letter writers were U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, the former Nassau County executive, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, former LIPA chairman Richard Kessel, Town Councilwomen Lee Seeman and Viviana Russell, Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, former Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, and former state Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.

Also on the list was Robert Troiano, who served as a senior policy adviser to Supervisor Judi Bosworth before being selected by County Executive Laura Curran to become acting commissioner for traffic and parking violations.

He withdrew shortly before his confirmation following revelations of $81,533 in federal tax liens and a $749,264 lien on a house in foreclosure, which had not been disclosed on at least one financial disclosure statement.

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