NEW YORK - The U.S. Attorney's Office confirms with the NEWS CENTER that Brooklyn Democrat Senator John Sampson has been taken into custody on federal corruption charges Monday morning.
Prosecutors say Sen. Sampson has been indicted on charges of embezzlement, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI, announced during a press conference at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn Monday morning.
Sampson was a court-appointed referee to watch over escrow accounts for sales of foreclosed properties in Brooklyn. It's alleged he embezzled $440,000 between 1998 and 2008.
He's also accused of funneling funds into his failed campaign for Brooklyn DA.
The New York State Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says Sampson has been stripped of his leadership position.
"These allegations are deeply disturbing. The alleged activity represents an offensive violation of the public trust for which there is no place in our government," Stewart-Cousins says. "Senator Sampson has been stripped of his ranking positions and all committee assignments. He has also informed us that in order to avoid being a distraction to the conference he will no longer conference with the Senate Democrats."
Governor Andrew Cuomo also reacted to this latest corruption scandal, saying change was needed.
"We need independent enforcement. We need election reform. We need campaign finance reform. We need public finance. We have to get the money out of politics, so I think in some ways it provides more clarity and more certainty that this is the moment," said Gov. Cuomo.
Federal prosecutors say Sampson's arrest is in connection with the Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and Nelson Castro case.
Stevenson, of the Bronx, faces bribery, conspiracy and other charges after he allegedly took bribes in exchange for drafting, proposing and agreeing to enact legislation. Castro was also initially charged however, cooperated in the corruption probe and agreed to resign as a result.
Sampson was first elected to the New York State Senate in 1996. He represents the 19th Senatorial District.