Former New York State Senator John Sampson, a Democrat of Brooklyn, was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison following his conviction in July 2015 on three counts, including obstruction of justice.
In 2009, Sampson was elected Leader of the Democratic Conference of the State Senate. He served in leadership alongside former Majority Leader and Temporary Senate President Malcolm Smith, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence after his 2015 conviction on corruption charges.
Between 1998 and 2008, Sampson allegedly embezzled approximately $440,000 from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties on which he was a court-appointed referee. The embezzlement charges were thrown out because the state of limitations expired. The charges on which he was convicted relate to the cover-up.
Reportedly, the Sampson investigation was an extension of the investigation of U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), prompted by newspaper headlines based on information provided by the National Legal and Policy Center.
Beginning in 2010, we reviewed public documents connected to Meeks and his political network. Meeks was involved with a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation. Among other irregularities, the group raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received the money. Newspaper headlines about New Direction, starting with a New York Post exposé on January 31, 2010, apparently prompted a series of often overlapping investigations.
Sampson tried to replace the stolen funds with the proceeds of an unsecured $188,500 “loan” from Edul Ahmad. A Guyanese-American businessman. Ahmad pleaded guilty in 2012 in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
Ahmad also “loaned” money to Meeks. After the FBI started to scrutinize Meeks finances in 2010 after the New Direction stories, Meeks amended his Financial Disclosure Reports to show a $40,000 payment from Ahmad in 2007. Meeks claimed it was a loan, but there were no notes or payments until several years after the payment was made.