Former New York state Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson turned himself in to federal authorities Monday, after being accused in a nine-count indictment of embezzling nearly half a million dollars from mortgage foreclosure accounts, and then trying to cover it up.
According to the federal compliant, Senator Sampson is accused of embezzling $440,000 in funds that he was entrusted to care for as a court-appointed referee on four foreclosed Brooklyn properties.
The complaint says Sampson used part of the money to pay back debts incurred in a failed bid to be the Brooklyn District Attorney in 2005.
The charges involved a phony loan, that, when discovered, Sampson tried to cover up. According to the complaint, he at one point tried to get a worker in the U.S. Attorney’s office to tell him the names of potential witnesses against him, threatening that he could have them taken out.
Sue Lerner, with Common Cause, calls the charges “staggering.”
“What more do we need to pass some real reform in Albany? ” Lerner asks.
Several lawmakers, along with Governor Cuomo, are pushing anti-corruption bills.
Sampson was stripped of his committee posts by the Senate Democratic leader, and thrown out of the Senate Democratic Conference.