(MEDIA RELEASE FROM U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE)
BUFFALO – Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced Wednesday former City of Dunkirk Mayor Richard L. Frey, 85, of Dunkirk, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to wire fraud involving a scheme to defraud his mayoral campaign and his supporters by stealing campaign contributions for his personal benefit. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Fabian and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, who are handling the case, stated that the defendant was the City of Dunkirk mayor from January 2002 until January 2012. During that time, Frey had substantial personal debt.
From January 2003, to June 2012, the defendant devised and executed a scheme to defraud the co-owners of a hospitality company that owned a hotel in Dunkirk and the owner of a food production company in Dunkirk by inducing them to make contributions to his mayoral and other political campaigns. After receiving checks from these individuals, Frey, rather than depositing the funds into a campaign or official account, simply spent them for his own personal benefit. The contributions totaled $54,361.30. In addition, Frey failed to report or disclose the contributions on his campaign disclosure reports, which is required of local candidates for public office.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brad Geary.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 11, 2017, at 1 p.m. before Judge Arcara.