Democrat Sen. John Sampson, 47, the New York State Senate leader and former leader of the Democratic caucus, has been indicted on charges of embezzlement, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to the FBI.
Sampson has been accused of embezzling $440,000 between 1998 and 2008. He used escrow accounts which were in his control when he negotiated foreclosures for the court to channel some of the funds into his attempt to be elected Brooklyn district attorney in 2005.
According to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch:
Today we have unsealed a nine-count indictment that outlines a pattern of self-dealing and corruption that spans decades and covers several events. If there was money to steal, he would steal it. His oath as a lawyer, his oath as a state senator, his position on either the judiciary or the Senate Ethics Committee in no way impacts how he does business. In no way does it guide him, in no way does it illuminate him.
Sampson is also accused of trying to ferret out information from an employee of the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office. He told the employee that he wanted to know who was cooperating with authorities to implicate him so he could arrange to “take them out.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated:
John Sampson has been added to the list of recently indicted New York elected officials. Elected officials are referred to as “public servants” and that should not be confused with “self-serving.” The people of New York have a right to demand, at a bare minimum, that their elected representatives obey the law.
Sampson reportedly asked former Queens Sen. Shirley Huntley, who has been indicted for mail fraud conspiracy, to help him get a business friend expanded access to growing his business at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Huntley allegedly agreed and took $1,000 in bribes to do so.
Ironically, when Huntley’s indictment was made public in 2012, it was Sampson who stripped her of her position in the senate. He also stripped Sen. Carl Kruger the same way when Kruger was arrested in 2011 on conspiracy charges.