N.Y. assemblyman gets 13 months in prison for corruption

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 14, 2015 3:14 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former New York state assemblyman was sentenced on Monday to 13 months in federal prison for claiming nearly $55,000 in travel expenses for trips he never took, authorities said.

William Scarborough, 69, a Democrat who represented the New York City borough of Queens, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and theft charges in May and agreed to resign his position.

He also pleaded guilty in May to state charges and was expected to be sentenced to a year in prison in Albany state court later on Monday, according to a statement from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Scarborough is the latest in a string of state legislators to be convicted of public corruption in recent years.

Earlier this year, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan charged both the leader of the state assembly, Democrat Sheldon Silver, and the leader of the state senate, Republican Dean Skelos, with using their posts to secure illegal payments.

Silver and Skelos, who have denied the allegations, are scheduled to face trial in November.

Federal authorities accused Scarborough of submitting 174 fraudulent travel vouchers between January 2009 and December 2012.

In addition, state authorities accused Scarborough of illegally withdrawing more than $38,000 from his campaign account for personal expenses while funneling more than $3,000 in campaign fundraising checks to his bank account.

Despite the pending state and federal charges, Scarborough won re-election last year.

Scarborough’s defense lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nearly two dozen New York state lawmakers have been charged with corruption in the last decade, according to New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax)