A former Nassau County legislator who admitted earlier this year to charging a client more than $2 million for work that he never performed was sentenced Friday to three months in prison.
Dave Denenberg, an eight-term legislator representing parts of the South Shore, was also sentenced at US District Court in Central Islip to three months home confinement.
“Denenberg stole his client’s money and violated his oath as a member of the bar,” acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Kelly T. Currie said in a statement. “Today’s sentence should serve as a reminder that in our nation, no one is above the law.”
Denenberg’s guilty plea stems from his time at Garden City-based Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, formerly known as Davidoff Malito & Hutcher LLP, from November 2006 to June 2014. Denenberg, a partner at the firm, sent Port Washington electronic company Systemax nearly $2.3 million in fraudulent bills for legal services that were never rendered, prosecutors said.
The disgraced former legislator admitted in January to the scam and resigned from the legislature that same month. Denenberg’s resignation left the Democratic caucus without one of its most outspoken members.
“I apologize for what I did, there’s no excuse. There’s never a day I don’t think, ‘I wish I could turn the clock back,’” Denenberg told the court, promising that he would not take the sentence lightly.
Denenberg’s attorney Jason Russo said his client voluntarily admitted to the fraud and wanted to make things right. Denenberg paid restitution prior to his sentencing.
The former lawmaker was indicted in November, just months after the firm filed a lawsuit against him seeking the money he billed the client. Denenberg had left the firm earlier in the year. He also dropped out of a state Senate race after the suit was filed.
Denenberg was forced to endure some verbal barbs from US District Court Judge Joanna Seybert.
“While he was a lawmaker he was a lawbreaker,” Seybert said.
Denenberg’s prison sentence begins September 1.