NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York state assemblyman pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court in Binghamton, New York, to charges that he improperly claimed nearly $55,000 in travel expenses for trips that never occurred, the latest in a string of public corruption cases that have roiled Albany.
Democrat William Scarborough, who represented the New York City borough of Queens and won re-election last year despite pending federal and state charges, has agreed to resign from the legislature as part of his plea agreement, officials said. He faces up to 20 years for wire fraud and 10 years for theft when he is sentenced in September.
Scarborough was also scheduled to plead guilty later on Wednesday in Albany to state charges that he misappropriated more than $40,000 in campaign donations for his own personal use, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
Federal authorities accused Scarborough of submitting 174 fraudulent travel vouchers between January 2009 and December 2012. Meanwhile, he illegally withdrew more than $38,000 from his campaign account for personal expenses while redirecting more than $3,000 in campaign checks to his bank account, according to the state charges.
The guilty plea comes days after Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged the state Senate majority leader, Dean Skelos, and his son Adam with pressuring two companies to pay Adam Skelos more than $200,000 in exchange for the senator’s support on legislation.
In January, then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was charged by Bharara’s office with using his office to secure millions of dollars in illegal payments.
Both legislative leaders have said they are innocent.
All told, 22 Albany legislators have been charged with corruption in the last decade, according to New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Ted Botha)