| March 7
March 7 A former suburban New York development
corporation director pleaded guilty to defrauding investors on
Tuesday, marking what prosecutors said was believed to be the
first-ever conviction for federal securities fraud in connection
with municipal bonds.
Aaron Troodler, 42, former executive director of the Ramapo
Local Development Corp in Ramapo, New York, pleaded guilty to
securities fraud and conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Cathy
Seibel in White Plains, New York, according to prosecutors.
Troodler is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 18. The
securities fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Joseph Poluka, an attorney for Troodler, declined to
Troodler was charged last April along with Christopher St.
Lawrence, Ramapo's elected supervisor. U.S. Attorney Preet
Bharara at the time said the case was the first criminal
securities fraud case over municipal bonds.
Prosecutors said Ramapo and the development corporation,
which was established and owned by the town, together sold more
than $150 million of bonds while Troodler and St. Lawrence
concealed the town's deteriorating finances.
The town's financial woes were largely due to a $58 million
minor league ballpark project, prosecutors said. The park,
originally called Provident Bank Park and now Palisades Credit
Union Park, is home to the Rockland Boulders.
Although Ramapo residents rejected a plan to guarantee bonds
used to finance the park in a 2010 referendum, and St. Lawrence
told residents that no public money would be used to pay for the
project, Ramapo ended up paying more than half the cost,
according to prosecutors.
Troodler and St. Lawrence falsified the town's finances to
help sell the bonds, including by putting millions in fake
receivables on its books, prosecutors said.
St. Lawrence is scheduled to go to trial in April. He and
Troodler also face civil claims by the U.S. Securities and
The probe of the finances of Ramapo, which is 28 miles
northwest of New York City and had 126,595 residents as of the
2010 census, began with a whistleblower complaint, according to
The Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Ramapo's
municipal offices in May 2013 after an audit by New York's state
comptroller criticized the funding of the stadium and the cost
(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Tom