Former city council candidate and current District Leader Al Baldeo turned himself in to the FBI today on charges of fraud and obstruction of justice.
Baldeo, 52, is accused of using fake donors to his campaign to receive matching funds from the city. He is also charged with obstructing during the government’s investigation.
“As alleged, Queens District Leader Albert Baldeo was so focused on securing a position with the New York City Council that he was willing to break the law to increase his chances — including engaging in a scheme to circumvent campaign finance laws by funneling his own money through straw donors. Baldeo even allegedly used fear and intimidation to prevent others from exposing his conduct. As today’s charges demonstrate, we will not sit idly by and allow candidates for elected office to corrupt the electoral process or the administration of justice,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
The charges stem from an unsuccessful run for the 28th District council seat in 2010, losing in the special election to Ruben Wills. He also ran for Council in 2005 and state Senate the following year.
The FBI alleges Baldeo provided money orders or cash to individuals to contribute in their own name. After discovering he was under investigation, Baldeo instructed the straw donors to “provide false information to, or not cooperate with, the FBI agents who were investigating contributions to his campaign,” according to investigators.
Baldeo is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, one count of attempting to commit mail fraud, one count of conspiring to obstruct justice, and one count of obstruction of justice. Each count carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison.