By Gabriela Resto-Montero
MANHATTAN — A Manhattan-based gynecologist who allegedly laundered bribery money for State Sen. Carl Kruger turned himself in to federal authorities on Thursday along with the Brooklyn lawmaker.
Michael Turano is accused of setting up two shell companies to launder money that Kruger received from bribes, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Kruger, a senator for Brooklyn's 27th district since 1994, faces charges of receiving at least $1 million in bribes since 2006. Authorities charge that starting in 2006, Kruger accepted bribes from lobbyists, real estate developers and health care companies in exchange for promoting their interests through his government work.
After allegedly receiving payments from grocery lobbyist Richard Lipsky, who was also charged in the investigation, Kruger allegedly supported grocers fighting an increase in cigarette taxes and an expansion of beer and liquor sales, and opposed efforts to include large plastic water bottles in recycling surcharges.
Turano allegedly set up the Olympian Strategic Development Corporation and Bassett Brokerage companies as fronts for Kruger's money dealings, which Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called an "unholy alliance of politicians, lobbyists and businessmen."
Between 2006 and 2010 Turano allegedly paid himself more than $1 million from the fake company's funds.
The doctor is accused of using the money to lease a Bentley, pay off credit card bills and pay the mortgage on the multi-million dollar Brooklyn home he shares with his brother, also a gynecologist, and his mother, the district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 18.
FBI surveillance of Turano revealed a close relationship between his family and Kruger, who regularly celebrated holidays with them and was a frequent dinner guest, Bharara said.
Kruger regularly shopped for the family, buying them travel-size snacks when they went on trips, purchasing Turano's mother stockings, and even discussing what the family's cemetery marker would look like with an engraver, according to the FBI.
Turano and Kruger were so close that when an insurer wanted to reach Turano about coverage for his Bentley, he called Kruger's cellphone, according to the criminal complaint.
Five other men, including Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland, were charged in the sweeping corruption investigation and voluntarily turned themselves in Thursday morning.
"Every single time we arrest a state Senator or Assemblyman, it should be a jarring wake-up call," said Bharara in a statement Thursday.
"Instead it seems that no matter how many times the alarm goes off, Albany just hits the snooze button," Bharara said. "Maybe this time they will get the message."