NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A former City Council candidate is now facing charges of campaign finance fraud stemming from his failed 2010 bid.
The federal indictment unsealed in court Wednesday revealed fraud and obstruction of justice charges against Queens Democratic district leader Albert Baldeo.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports
Baldeo surrendered to authorities before he was indicted in federal court.
Prosecutors said Baldeo funneled illegal contributions to his campaign through straw donors with the intent to fraudulently increase the amount of matching funds provided by the New York City Campaign Finance Board, according to the indictment.
EXTRA: Read The Indictment (PDF)
Prosecutors said Baldeo’s aim was to get $90,000 in matching funds from the city by putting up $15,000 in illegal contributions from his own bank accounts. Baldeo then disguised the illegal cash as contributions from others, the indictment alleges.
The straw donors, according to the indictment, were told by Baldeo at the start to lie and then stonewall FBI investigators, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported. Those who refused were threatened, according to prosecutors.
The charges were announced following a joint effort by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.
Baldeo lost the 2010 election to Ruben Willis.
The federal charges carry a possible 20-year prison sentence if Baldeo is convicted.
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