New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) reportedly surrendered to authorities Tuesday and is facing charges related to campaign finance fraud.
The FBI and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York are accusing Benjamin of conspiring to direct state funds to a New York City real estate investor in exchange for thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to his failed 2021 campaign for city comptroller, according to the indictment.
“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,” it says.
Appointed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) last year, Benjamin was planning to run alongside her in their bid for a full term. Hochul served as former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) lieutenant governor and took office in August after Cuomo resigned amid sexual assault allegations.
Hochul reportedly did not know about the scheme when she selected Benjamin in August. Benjamin was not accused of any wrongdoing in the indictment filed against the real estate investor in November.
Benjamin’s arrest comes after The New York Times reported that he was cooperating with the federal investigation into whether he knowingly participated in the scheme.
Benjamin is expected to appear in U.S. district court in Manhattan on Tuesday.