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Joe Bruno faces fraud charges

Sixteen unions are specifically named in the indictment as having hired Wright. The statesman collected nearly $1.4 million over a 12-year period for "the Bruno accounts."

Prosecutors say he engaged in similar dealings with McGinn, Smith and Co., an investment-banking group. He also allegedly collected payments from companies controlled by Leonard J. Fassler, Jared E. Abbruzzese and Russell C. Ball. The payments were often made through the Senator's Capital Business Consultants group for "consulting," but according to the indictment, no legitimate work was ever performed.

Furthermore, prosecutors say that Capital Business Consultants was a sham entity used to disguise Bruno's involvement in the deals, and that Bruno "directed and utilized state employees to perform administrative, clerical, bookkeeping and legal work related to his outside financial activities."

In all cases, Bruno claimed that he worked as a "consultant" when disclosing the money to required state ethics reviews. According to the indictment, he told Fassler and Ball that he had disclosed their relationships to the Legislative Ethics Committee when, in fact, he had not.

Calls to Bruno's lawyer, William Dreyer, were not returned.

Bruno represented the 43rd Senate District for 32 years. He made a late-breaking announcement last summer that he would not run for another term, and was replaced by Republican Roy McDonald in the November election.""

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