Lafazan Facing Charges over Concealed $100K Loan
by Maureen Daly
Nassau Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D-Syosset) - who just last month lost a primary for US Congress - has been charged with lying in his financial disclosures. He has now "amended" his financial disclosure reports to reveal a $100,000 "personal loan" he received from a billionaire financier from Centre Island.
Lafazan faces charges filed by several of his opponents in the recent federal primary, and only filed the amendments to his disclosures on September 7th - after he lost the August 23rd primary. His concealing the loans and making false filings is potentially chargeable both civilly and criminally.
According to the newly-disclosed filings, Lafazan took nearly $100,000 from financier Bryan Lawrence of Centre Island. Shortly thereafter, he "loaned" his US congressional campaign $166,000 - which he claimed came from "personal funds."
Lafazan has been an elected County Legislator since 2018, and was a candidate for US Congress from December, 2021 to August, 2022.
It is illegal while holding office, or while being a federal candidate to receive "gifts" or unsecured, non-commercial "loans" from other people. Those ethics rules are in place to prevent third parties from bribing officials or circumventing campaign finance laws.
If the funds received by Lafazan from Lawrence were filtered into Lafazan's federal campaign, that would constitute a "straw donation" - exceeding the $5,000 per person donation limit - and be chargeable as a federal felony.
Conservative film producer Dinesh D'Souza was arrested, jailed and prosecuted in 2014 by the US Department of Justice for making "straw" donations of $20,000 to help his former college roommate Wendy Long in her long-shot US Senate campaign.
Locally, former Nassau County Legislator Roger Corbin (D-Westbury) was charged in 2006 with failing to disclose debts and foreclosures. He was later charged with tax and bribery charges, and was sentenced to prison.