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Casey firm ordered to pay restitution in wire fraud sentencing

Casey and Personius
Thomas O'Neil-White
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Steve Casey (right) and Rod Personius leave U.S. District Court after Casey's firm was ordered to pay restitution to Charles Swanick.

A little over $8,000 and the end of a 25-year friendship is what former Erie County Legislative Chairman Charles Swanick said he lost, after doing business with L.S.A. Strategies L.L.C. during his state senate seat run in 2012.

“He misled a good friend and that's the part that hurts as well,” he said.

That friend is Steve Casey, the former Deputy Mayor of the City of Buffalo. The FBI raided Casey’s home in 2012 as part of an investigation into wire fraud for which Casey’s L.S.A. Strategies firm pleaded guilty earlier this year. On Wednesday it was ordered to pay nearly $8,283.59 in restitution plus a $69 fine.

Attorney Rodney Personius, who representing L.S.A. said it’s the firm taking the plea and that Casey himself would never take a plea to the individual charges.

“Over $8,000 where you get a disposition with a corporation where Mr. Swanick gets his money back and there's no probation and there's a fine of $69,” he said. “You're going to fight that? That would be a disconnect.”

Charles Swanick speaks to the media after the sentencing of L.S.A. Strategies L.L.C
Thomas O'Neil-White
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Charles Swanick speaks to the media after the sentencing of L.S.A. Strategies L.L.C

Swanick hopes this revealing of the underbelly of politics does not negatively impact voter confidence moving forward.

“I think governmentally we try to do the best we can,” he said. “And it doesn't always look that way. But I would hope that the voters of Erie County, Western New York still understand that the process works. It's a great democracy we live in and we want to make sure we ensure that it continues. So yes, this is a blem[ish] in the system, but it is certainly not something that should upset people will move on and will do better.”

The $69 fine represents the remaining money in the L.S.A. account. The firm faced the possibility of a fine of up to $500,000.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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