The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Thursday one of the charges against Joe Percoco, a former top aide to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was convicted in 2018 on corruption charges stemming from the so-called “Buffalo Billion” development project.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito delivered the opinion overturning the charge of wire fraud against Percoco, arguing it is not a proper test for determining whether a private citizen may be convicted of honest-services fraud. The charge was reversed, but his other convictions stand.
In 2016, Percoco, former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros and six others were arrested on multiple charges of extortion, federal bribery and fraud. The charges against Percoco alleged the former aide took more than $300,000 in bribes from 2012 through 2016 from a development company that was also seeking bids for Cuomo’s billion dollar economic development program in Buffalo. The charges also stem from a brief eight-month period when Percoco was not working in government, but continued to have large government influence. Cuomo in the past had said publicly that Perococo was like a brother to him.
Percoco was ultimately found guilty on multiple charges, including wire fraud, sentenced to six years in prison. He was released from federal prison last month on April 21st. The wire fraud conviction stemmed from his time outside official state government, as prosecutors argued Percoco had a “special relationship” with the government and had “dominated and controlled” government business.