Kickback kingpin Hank Morris pleads guilty

November 22, 2010, 11:11 PM UTC

Hank Morris, the private equity “finder” at the heart of New York’s public pension kickback scandal, today plead guilty to a felony violation of The Martin Act.

As part of the deal, Morris will repay $19 million, accept a lifetime ban from the securities industry and pledge to never again solicit investments from any government entity within New York. He also faces up to four years in prison, with a sentence to be imposed by a judge next February.

“Hank Morris used his influence at the New York State Comptroller’s Office to stockpile millions in fees for himself from state pension fund investments,” said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, via a press release. “Through his scheme, Morris personified pay-to-play corruption.  With this plea, funds will be rightly restored to the State of New York and justice will be served.”

The Morris plea had been expected, and comes less than a week after Cuomo charged former car czar Steven Rattner with a related Martin Act violation. Rattner so far has refused to settle with Cuomo, insisting that he will not be “bullied.”

Last guy I heard stand up to Cuomo like that was… Well, I guess it was Hank Morris.