New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin was arrested on charges related to a campaign finance fraud investigation, officials announced Tuesday. 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.
His arrest comes after reports that Manhattan federal prosecutors and the FBI were investigating whether Benjamin knowingly engaged in a campaign finance fraud scheme. They were also looking into whether Benjamin, in exchange, helped distribute state money to contributors and their projects.
An indictment alleges that Benjamin was given campaign contributions from a Harlem real estate developer. In exchange, Benjamin obtained a $50,000 state grant for the developer’s business, although the money was never delivered, the indictment states.
The developer allegedly provided Benjamin with two $10,000 personal checks in the names of relatives who did not share the developer’s last name. The indictment says the developer allegedly did this to conceal any connections between himself and the contributions.
The developer also allegedly gave Benjamin a third check for $5,000 in the name of a limited liability company owned by the developer. Benjamin was charged with bribery, honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit those offenses.