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City Lawmaker`s Former Staffers For October Sentencing

CaribWorldNews, BROOKLYN, NY, Weds. July 1, 2009: Two former employees of a New York City Caribbean-born politician could be sentenced as early as October 2 for stealing government funds.

The two – Asquith Reid, the former chief-of-staff to Vincentian-born councilman Kendall Stewart, and Joycinth `Sue` Anderson, another staffer, changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty on June 25th.

The two, born in Jamaica, admitted they embezzled nearly $195,000 from three community groups they controlled that received city funds at the request of their employer, Councilman Stewart of Brooklyn. The three nonprofit organizations in question are the Donna Reid Memorial Education Fund, named after a daughter of Mr. Reid`s who died of cancer; the Community Opportunity and Resource Development; and Central Brooklyn Community Services.

Reid and Anderson admitted they embezzled the funds in a number of ways, including sending $31,000 in Donna Reid Fund monies to individuals, including family members and friends, in Jamaica via Western Union wire transfers; and spending approximately $18,000 on a hall used for events for a political club controlled by Councilmember Stewart, and spending more than $3,000 on campaign literature for the Councilmember.

Anderson also cashed thousands of dollars in Donna Reid fund checks and gave the money to Asquith Reid, according to the 2008 indictment.

Reid also admitted trying to get a witness to lie to federal prosecutors as they tried to piece together the money trail last year that led to the Donna Reid Memorial Education Fund.

At the time of the indictment and arrest, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia had said, `The two aides` loyalty `should have been to the New York City taxpayers. Instead, they were driven by greed.`

Stewart, a Democrat, cooperated in the federal probe and has not been implicated in the scheme.  At a recent political debate hosted by Whatz Up TV, the politician denied the two worked for him and said they merely ran a community-based organization at the time the alleged theft occurred.

The two remain free on bail ahead of sentencing. Anderson, 69, faces up to 14 months in prison as part of a plea deal with Manhattan federal prosecutors.  Reid faces up to 40 years in prison. His lawyer said he paid back the money he`s accused of stealing.