The man accused of trying to influence U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. as part of his upcoming fraud sentencing was ordered detained Monday amid new allegations by the government.
An FBI agent, in newly filed court papers, claims James F. Lagona approached the campaign of Rep. Kathy Hochul, who is Hochul’s wife, and offered to use his influence as a priest with the Western Rite Orthodox Church to influence undecided voters.
In return, according to the agent, Lagona wanted Hochul’s husband to dismiss his fraud conviction. He was found guilty last year of taking part in a $5.8 million Ponzi scheme that cheated about 90 people.
The court papers also indicate one of Lagona’s conversations with the Hochul campaign was recorded at the direction of the FBI.
Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny described Lagona as a possible flight risk in ordering him detained.