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Huntley pleads guilty to mail fraud

TimesLedger Newspapers

Former state Sen. Shirley Huntley pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday to federal mail fraud charges and could face 18 to 24 months in prison.

The 74-year-old Huntley admitted in court to embezzling more than $80,000 she received in member items dispersed by the state’s Education Department, which went to the Parents Information Network educational nonprofit run by her daughter, Pamela Corey, prosecutors said.

The disgraced state senator told the judge that she falsely filed documents to say the money was going to be used to benefit her local community in Jamaica.

“This was not true,” Huntley said Wednesday. “The funds were used for personal items for myself and others.”

Huntley, who served for six years before losing a re-election bid in the fall, pleaded guilty Wednesday in front of Judge Jack Weinstein, but a sentencing date has yet to be announced. She could face anywhere from between 18 and 24 months in prison — much less than the original five-year maximum penalty for the charge — because of the plea deal Huntley had reached with prosecutors.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called her actions an attempt to cover up “a scheme to steal taxpayer dollars using a sham not-for-profit that did not provide services to the public.”

She pleaded not guilty in August to those two felony charges and one misdemeanor charge.

In September, Huntley was voted out of office in a Democratic primary race against state Sen. James Sanders (D-Jamaica).

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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