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New Indictment Puts Kerik in Hotter Water

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) - A superseding indictment accuses Bernard Kerik, who was nominated by the Bush administration to head Homeland Security, of conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements.

The former New York City Police Commissioner faces up to 142 years in prison and $4.75 million in fines if convicted of all 15 charges. Nominated by President Bush to be Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in December 2004, Kerik's prospects collapsed when he acknowledged having hired an undocumented nanny - then the investigation mushroomed.

Kerik is accused of accepting $225,000 in renovations to his Riverdale, N.Y., apartment from a company seeking to do business with the city; of failing to disclose those benefits to the city; and of "taking steps to convince city regulators that the contractors were free of mob ties and should be approved to do business requiring city permits," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Kerik also is accused of impeding an IRS investigation; failing to report $236,000 in rent payments for a Manhattan apartment he accepted from a Manhattan developer; failing to report $75,000 in income from a book publisher; taking $80,000 in phony charitable deductions; failing to report $20,000 in income from a software company; and making false statements on a loan application.

Kerik also is charged with making false statements to the White House and other federal officials in connection with his application to be Secretary of Homeland Security and a member of the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Kerik was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate George Yanthis this afternoon (Wednesday) for a bail hearing.

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