Sen. John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, embezzled more than $440,000 in a decade-long scheme to control money from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties, federal prosecutors alleged today.
Sampson, the former leader of the Senate Democratic conference, was charged with two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements, prosecutors said.
Between 1998 and 2008, Sampson allegedly embezzled the money as a court-appointed referee for foreclosure proceedings conducted in Supreme Court in Brooklyn. He was elected to the Senate in 1997.
“The voters of New York state rightfully expect their elected officials to represent the voters’ interests, not to trade on their positions of power to line their own pockets,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “As charged in the indictment, for years, Sen. John Sampson abused his position of public trust to steal from New Yorkers suffering from home foreclosure and from the very county he was elected to represent.”
Sampson is accused of trying to thwart the investigation and to cultivate an informant with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to provide him information about his case.
When interviewed by the FBI outside his home in July 2012, Sampson said the reason he asked the employee at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for help because he was not “good” with computers, prosecutors said.
As the interview concluded, the FBI agents advised Sampson that he had lied to them. When asked whether he wished to revise his statement, Sampson said: “Not everything I told you was false.”
If convicted, Sampson faces up to 10 years of prison for each embezzlement charge, up to 10 years of imprisonment for a charge of obstruction of justice and up to 20 years of imprisonment for each of the remaining four charges related to obstruction of justice. He could get up 5 years of imprisonment for each false statement charge.