The Chicago Syndicate: Specifics on William F. Boyland, Jr.'s Conviction on Bribery, Fraud, Extortion, Conspiracy, and Theft Charges
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Monday, March 10, 2014

Specifics on William F. Boyland, Jr.'s Conviction on Bribery, Fraud, Extortion, Conspiracy, and Theft Charges

Sitting New York State Assemblyman William F. Boyland, Jr. was convicted by a jury at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, of 21 felony counts, including federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and commit federal programs bribery, extortion, extortion conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, federal programs theft, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Boyland committed each of these offenses by corruptly exploiting his public position representing the 55th Assembly District in Brooklyn, which is composed of Ocean Hill, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, and Bushwick. Upon his convictions, Boyland was automatically expelled from the Assembly. When sentenced, Boyland faces prison terms of up to 20 years on each of the extortion, extortion conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, honest services wire fraud conspiracy, and mail fraud conspiracy counts; up to 10 years on each of the federal programs bribery and federal programs theft counts; and up to five years on each of the other conspiracy counts. Following his convictions, the Honorable Sandra L. Townes, who presided over the trial, ordered Boyland remanded into custody pending his sentencing on June 30, 2014. Boyland is also subject to up to at least $250,000 in fines on each of the counts of conviction, as well as criminal forfeiture and mandatory restitution.

The convictions were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

“The breadth and pervasiveness of the corruption exposed by this prosecution is staggering. Wherever there was an opportunity for William Boyland to corruptly line his own pockets, he took it. By soliciting bribes, by stealing funds intended to help the elderly, and by defrauding New York State and the Assembly, Boyland cravenly pursued his own interest at the expense of his constituents. In doing so, Boyland not only broke the law but broke faith with the public he was elected to serve. Today’s verdict ensures that Boyland will be held accountable for his corrupt actions,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “When our elected officials engage in self-dealing, when they abdicate their responsibilities, when they succumb to greed, the average citizen pays for it dearly, and our democratic system suffers on so many levels. The verdict sends a clear message that we and our partners in the FBI will vigorously investigate and prosecute any public official who trades on a position of power to line his own pocket.” United States Attorney Lynch praised the hard work and dedication of the FBI agents who investigated the case and expressed her thanks to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, the New York State Office of the Aging, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the New York State Assembly Department of Finance, and the New York City Department of Investigation for their assistance with the investigation.

The evidence admitted at trial proved that, beginning in January 2007 and continuing through December 2011, Boyland engaged in four separate corrupt schemes, ranging from soliciting and accepting over $250,000 in bribe payments, to submitting false travel vouchers to New York State, to stealing state funds intended for the elderly:

Carnival Scheme

Boyland extorted and accepted over $14,000 in bribes in exchange for undertaking official action to benefit a carnival promoter (the “promoter”) and an undercover FBI agent. Specifically, in August 2010, Boyland met with the Promoter and this undercover FBI agent (UC1) on multiple occasions in New York City and discussed the desire of the promoter and UC1 to hold carnivals in Boyland’s district, for which they needed government approvals. During those meetings, Boyland requested payments in exchange for assisting the promoter and UC1, and the promoter and UC1 agreed. Boyland also described various ways in which the bribes could be disguised to hide their true purpose. After these meetings, Boyland directed his Assembly staff to assist the promoter and UC1 in their efforts to gain government approvals. Boyland then represented to the promoter and UC1 that he and his staff (i) engaged in discussions with government agencies to assist the Promoter in obtaining carnival-related leases and permits and (ii) arranged for a non-profit organization to sponsor the Promoter’s carnivals. Boyland also directed his staff to give the promoter letters of support, on Boyland’s Assembly letterhead, that the promoter needed in order to operate carnivals in Boyland’s district. In exchange, UC1 paid Boyland three separate bribes: $7,000 in cash; a $3,000 check with the “payee” line left blank; and $3,800 worth of money orders that were deposited into Boyland’s campaign bank account. As was shown to the jury during the trial, Boyland was captured on videotape personally accepting the $7,000 cash bribe at his district office.

Real Estate Scheme

Boyland also accepted the $7,000 cash bribe described above in exchange for undertaking official action to benefit UC1 and a second undercover FBI agent (UC2) in a purported real estate venture in Boyland’s district. Specifically, Boyland proposed a brazen scheme in which UC1 and UC2 would purchase the former St. Mary’s Hospital in Boyland’s district for $8 million, obtain state grant money to renovate the hospital, and resell it for $15 million to a non-profit organization that Boyland claimed to control. Boyland assured UC1 and UC2 that he would use his influence as an assemblyman to secure state grant money for the project and handle any zoning issues that arose. After accepting the $7,000 cash bribe described above, Boyland was later recorded demanding an additional $250,000 bribe payment from UC1 and UC2 as a condition of using his official position to realize the real estate scheme he had proposed.

Recordings of meetings in hotel rooms in Atlantic City and New York City where Boyland discussed the real estate scheme revealed that he recognized the scheme’s corrupt and illegal nature and sought to conceal his own involvement. At the meeting in the hotel in Atlantic City, Boyland stated, “I got a middle guy by the way...I gotta stay clean...I got a bag man....” Boyland further explained that he did not want to talk on the telephone and preferred in-person meetings: “I stopped talking on the phone a while ago...I’m just saying there is no real conversation that you can have...especially with what we’re talking about.”

At the meeting in the hotel room in New York City, Boyland reiterated that he wanted UC1 and UC2 to pay him a $250,000 bribe in exchange for the St. Mary’s Hospital project. When UC2 instead countered Boyland’s demand by offering to pay Boyland $5,000 for introductions to other government officials who would be involved in the project, Boyland rejected the counter-proposal, stating that the people whom Boyland could introduce to UC1 and UC2 were worth more than $5,000: “I’m not talking about $5,000 folks. I’m talking about...people that can actually get these projects done.”

False Voucher Scheme

From January 2007 to December 2011, Boyland stole New York State funds by submitting false New York State Assembly Member Travel Vouchers (vouchers). Boyland submitted over two hundred fraudulent vouchers where he falsely claimed to be in Albany on legislative business when he in fact was not in Albany, including days when Boyland was in New York City meeting with the undercover FBI agents and demanding $250,000 in bribes; days when he was in North Carolina and Virginia visiting with family and friends; and for days when he was in Istanbul, Turkey. In reliance on Boyland’s false Vouchers, New York State paid Boyland more than $70,000 in fraudulent mileage expense reimbursements and per diem payments.

Theft of State Funds for the Elderly

From July 2007 to September 2010, Boyland conspired to defraud New York State and the New York State Office of the Aging (NYSOA). Boyland, a member of the Assembly’s Committee on the Aging, steered $200,000 of New York State “member item” funds to a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization whose mission, as described on its website, was to provide a “social setting that enable[s] elderly individuals to maintain their independence and remain at home in the community.” Notwithstanding his certification, in writing to the NYSOA that these state funds would not be used for any partisan or political purpose, Boyland directed that the majority of these $200,000 in state funds be used for the benefit of Boyland and his political campaigns by paying for community events that promoted Boyland such as a Senior Lunch Cruise on the Spirit of New York Cruise Line, a fireworks show, and a large end of the summer picnic held at a park in his district, as well as goods that promoted Boyland, such as “Team Boyland” T-shirts distributed at those community events.

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