Authorities announced Tuesday that New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin has been arrested on charges related to a campaign finance fraud investigation..
Benjamin surrendered to authorities and appeared before a federal judge in New York City on Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
He was arrested after reports emerged that Manhattan federal prosecutors and the FBI were investigating whether Benjamin was involved in a deliberate campaign finance fraud. They also explored whether Benjamin was helping to distribute government money to contributors and their projects.
An allegation alleges that Benjamin received campaign contributions from a Harlem real estate developer. Alternatively, Benjamin received a $ 50,000 state grant for the developer’s business, but was not paid, the indictment states.
Developer Benjamin is said to have given two $ 10,000 personal checks in the name of relatives who did not share the developer’s last name. The indictment alleges that the developer did this to cover up the connection between himself and the contributors.
Developer Benjamin is said to have issued a third check for $ 5,000 in the name of the limited liability company owned by the developer.
Benjamin was charged with bribery, fraudulent service wire fraud and conspiracy to commit those crimes.
“As charged, Brian Benjamin used his power as a New York state senator to receive a state grant in exchange for contributions to his own political campaigns,” said Damien Williams, a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. “In doing so, Benjamin abused his power and effectively used state funds to support his political campaigns.”
At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Williams said that “public corruption undermines public confidence and trust in the government” and that his office will always “uphold the rule of law.”
Jocelyn e. Straubber, the city’s interior commissioner, said Benjamin betrayed public trust when he used his position of power for his own interests.
The charged project ran from about 2019 to 2021. The indictment alleges that Benjamin hid his tracks by falsifying campaign donor forms, misleading municipal controllers and “providing false information on verification forms” he submitted.
When did things start to come out Benjamin fundraiser, Gerald MictolStep was arrested in November NBC New York. Miktol has been accused of wire fraud in connection with a campaign fraud scheme linked to the last Benjamin fundraiser.
Benjamin, who was appointed lieutenant governor by Governor Kathy Hoch in 2021, did not make the allegations public.
When asked earlier about the investigation, McDoll’s office reiterated a news release issued on November 19 after his arrest.
“Neither Lieutenant Governor Benjamin nor his campaign has been charged with any wrongdoing, and they are willing to cooperate fully with the authorities,” his office said at the time. “Once the campaign found that these contributions had been received improperly, they donated them to the Campaign Funding Board, following guidance from the CFB.”
Ho Chi Minh’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Benjamin’s arrest.
“Communicator. Music aficionado. Certified bacon trailblazer. Travel advocate. Subtly charming social media fanatic.”