New York Lt. Gov. Brian A. Benjamin was indicted on charges including bribery and several other offenses in connection with his alleged role in a scheme to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for securing a $50,000 state grant, the New York Times reports.
Benjamin is accused of conspiring to direct state funds to a Harlem real estate investor for coordinating thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to Benjamin’s unsuccessful 2021 bid for New York City comptroller.
According to the indictment, the unnamed real estate developer made donations that used the names of people who had not personally funded the contributions or who were reimbursed for making the contributions.
A source close to the situation said Benjamin turned himself in to authorities Tuesday morning.
“In so doing, Benjamin abused his authority as a New York State senator, engaging in a bribery scheme using public funds for his own corrupt purposes,” the indictment read. In November, the investor was arrested on federal charges and began providing information about Benjamin’s alleged involvement
Additionally, Benjamin allegedly engaged in a series of lies and deceptions to cover up the scheme,” which include falsifying campaign donation forms, misleading New York City authorities, and giving false information on his background check to become lieutenant governor last year.
There is no evidence that Gov. Kathy Hochul was aware of Benjamin’s alleged criminal activity.
A Benjamin campaign spokesperson previously told CNN, “Neither Lieutenant Governor Benjamin nor his campaign are being accused of any wrongdoing and they are prepared to fully cooperate with authorities. As soon as the campaign discovered that these contributions were improperly sourced, they donated them to the Campaign Finance Board, pursuant to guidance obtained from the CFB.”