On Tuesday, two people familiar with the matter told different news outlets that the lieutenant governor of New York, Brian Benjamin has surrendered to authorities in a case related to campaign-finance fraud. Benjamin was arrested after Manhattan federal prosecutors and the FBI started an investigation to find out whether he had knowingly engaged in the fraud scheme. He reportedly faces charges of bribery, fraud and falsification of records. Subpoenas had been issued, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The New York Times first reported the news. Several outlets approached representatives of the lieutenant governor, governor Katy Hochul of New York, whom he joined in September, as well as the FBI, for comment but there has been no response so far. There is a scheduled midday news conference by federal prosecutors.
The indictment, unsealed Tuesday, accused Benjamin of taking part in a scheme so that he could get campaign contributions from a real estate developer. In exchange, Benjamin would use his influence as a state senator and grant $50,000 of state funds to a non profit that was under the control of the developer.
In November, federal prosecutors had arrested a real estate mogul, Gerald Migdol for a campaign finance scheme. The developer, who was indicted, had steered funds towards the lieutenant governor’s unsuccessful bid for the position of New York City Comptroller.
Migdol, who is also a lawyer, faced charges “of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in illegally giving donations to Benjamin’s campaign,” according to AP.
Brian Benjamin is New York State’s second black lieutenant governor. He represented the Harlem district in New York City. He was born and raised by Caribbean immigrant parents in central Harlem. His bachelor degree from Brown University is in public policy while his master’s degree is in business administration from Harvard Business School.
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