Henry “Hank” Morris, a key figure in the pay-to-play scandal involving the $132.8 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, was sentenced Thursday to up to four years in prison, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said.
The sentence, 1 1/3 to four years, is the maximum allowable by law, according to a news release from Mr. Schneiderman.
The sentence was handed down by State Supreme Court Justice Lewis Bart Stone, the news release said.
Mr. Morris pleaded guilty in November to a single felony count of securities fraud for his role in the scandal that also snared his boss, former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Mr. Morris was chief political adviser to Mr. Hevesi. The comptroller is the sole trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund.
According to the plea agreement, Mr. Morris forfeited $19 million and was permanently banned from the securities industry in the state, the news release said.
“Today's sentencing decision by the court sends a strong message to New Yorkers that those who abuse positions of power to line their own pockets will be held accountable by this office,” the release said.
The pay-to-play investigation produced eight guilty pleas from individuals, including Mr. Hevesi and David Loglisci, former chief investment officer of the state fund. Mr. Morris is the first to be sentenced. Mr. Hevesi is scheduled for sentencing on March 10. The release said other defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks.
Mr. Schneiderman was not available for additional comment.