Hank Morris, once a political adviser to Alan G. Hevesi, the former state comptroller, received a maximum sentence of one and a third to four years in prison on Thursday for his role in a pay-to-play scheme involving the state’s pension fund.
Justice Lewis Bart Stone of State Supreme Court in Manhattan said, “The evil effect is obvious,” referring to the pension scheme, before handing down his sentence.
In a seven-page written sentencing decision, Justice Stone said that although Mr. Morris claimed he was now a broken man, “he has perverted and has impaired the public confidence in a major government function and effectively slandered many political figures and governmental employees who have dedicated their careers to serving the public with honesty and good faith.”
Mr. Morris pleaded guilty in November to a single Class E felony under the Martin Act, a sweeping state securities law.
Mr. Morris and other Hevesi aides directed that half of the pension fund’s $10 billion reserved for hedge funds and private equity firms should be handled by firms that used Mr. Morris or his associates as paid intermediaries. Firms that were not willing to pay the intermediaries were often rejected by the pension fund.
Before the sentence was announced, Mr. Morris read a letter he had sent the judge. “To my friends and family,” he said, “I’m sorry if I let you down.
“My actions undermined the integrity of New York State’s government.”