Executive gets 2½ years for economic development fraud

NEW YORK (AP) — A corporate executive has been sentenced to 2½ years in prison for defrauding a New York state economic development program.

Joseph Gerardi was sentenced Thursday in the case involving the Buffalo Billion project. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni said the sentence should serve as a warning to anyone who wants to cheat as they compete for contracts involving government funding.

Gerardi was convicted by a jury of conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to federal officers.

Gerardi is a top executive at COR Development in the Syracuse area.

Prosecutors say he bribed a senior official in the governor’s office in one scheme and conspired to rig contracts to steer large projects to his company. He was acquitted of the bribery scheme.

The 59-year-old Gerardi declined to speak. His lawyer says he is sorry.

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