Strip-Club-Owning Tea Partier Sentenced in N.Y.

     WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – A federal judge handed down a prison sentence of three years and a day Tuesday to the businessman who once described himself as the Tea Party’s loudest voice in New York.
     Having pleaded guilty over the summer, Selim “Sammy” Zherka must also forfeit $5.23 million in ill-gotten gains and pay a $1.5 million fine.
     Prosecutors indicted Zherka last year on charges that he lied about purchase prices and down payments. To obtain more than $146 million in loans from three banks from 2005 to 2008.
     In addition to submitting false loan applications, Zherka also pleaded guilty to repeatedly filed fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, reducing tax liabilities for the apartment complexes by understating capital gains and overstating depreciation expenses.
     With two Manhattan strip clubs to his name, Zherka used to call himself the Tea Party’s loudest voice in New York, according to a New York Times report.
     Though Somers-based Zherka has been detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan since his 2014 arrest, a weekly newspaper called the Westchester Guardian continued to list him as its publisher in its most recent issue, dated Dec. 10.
     Prosecutors note that four others await sentencing in White Plains after pleading guilty to federal charges that they conspired with Zherka to commit offenses.
     U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel imposed today’s sentence.
     Santander now controls the bank that loaned Zherka $63.5 million based on a fraudulent application.
     Zherka’s restitution includes $878,871 in federal taxes; $179,634 in New York state Taxes; $207,508 in Connecticut taxes; $10,373 in Massachusetts taxes; and a fine of $1.5 million.

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