Updated 3:32 p.m.
Assemblyman William Scarborough was arrested on Wednesday on state and federal corruption charges, officials said.
Scarborough, who has represented the 29th District in southeast Queens for two decades, was arrested for allegedly stealing campaign funds and collecting travel reimbursement checks through the voucher system, which each legislator gets when he or she is in the state capital, even when he was not there, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
“The crimes Mr. Scarborough is accused of committing would represent a shameful breach of the trust his constituents placed in him,” Schneiderman said. “New Yorkers are repeatedly asked to have faith in our leaders, and every allegation of political corruption shatters that trust. Each time my office arrests a corrupt public official, it sends the message that there must be one set of rules for everyone and no one is above the law, no matter how powerful or well-connected.”
Scarborough pleaded not guilty to a 23-count state indictment accusing him of withdrawing and diverting over $40,000 from his campaign account to use for personal expenses and an 11-count federal indictment of him improperly claiming “per diem” expenses in excess of $40,000 for travel that didn’t take place, according to Schneiderman.
If convicted on all charges he faces up to 37 years in prison.
He was released on his own recognizance in both courts, but was forced to give up his passport, according to published reports. Reports also said he has no intention of withdrawing from his re-election bid this year.
In March, the FBI raided Scarborough’s office and home as part of this investigation. The agency seized “just about everything,” according to what Scarborough told reporters then.
The arrest on Wednesday came as part of a joint effort by the offices of Schneiderman, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian.
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