New York Lt. Gov. Benjamin under investigation over fraudulent donations
( Hill )
Federal prosecutors and the FBI are investigating whether New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) played a role in directing fraudulent funds to his failed 2021 campaign for New York City comptroller.
His campaign advisers and the state Senate have been subpoenaed in the matter, according to The New York Times.
Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York have issued grand jury subpoenas seeking documents from Benjamin's campaign committee, paid staffers and consulting firms, three people familiar with the matter told the Times.
Prosecutors more recently began seeking records from the state Senate, where Benjamin previously served and represented Harlem prior to being selected for the lieutenant governor position by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) after she became governor.
Benjamin has not been accused of wrongdoing, but Harlem real estate investor Gerald Migdol, who last year was charged with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and other crimes, was accused of concocting a plan to misrepresent or conceal multiple illegal contributions to Benjamin's campaign, the newspaper reported.
It is not clear if Migdol has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, though there have been indications that he could be either providing information or in negotiations as the same prosecutors are handling Midgol and Benjamin's cases, and because subpoenas were issued soon after his arrest, the Times noted.
A spokesman for Benjamin's campaign for lieutenant governor referenced a statement from the time of Migdol's arrest when asked about the subpoenas.
“Neither Lt. Gov. Benjamin nor his campaign are being accused of any wrongdoing, and they are prepared to fully cooperate with authorities,” the statement said, per the Times.
The Hill has reached out to Benjamin's campaign for comment.