New York City Councilman Ruben Wills, who represents the 28th district in Queens, was found guilty of public corruption charges yesterday in state court.
Following an 11-day trial, the jury found Wills guilty on five of six counts related to Will’s theft of approximately $30,000 in public campaign funds and state grant money, according to State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Those charges were: one count of a scheme to defraud in the 1st degree, two counts of grand larceny in the 3rd degree, and two counts of filing a false instrument in the 1st degree.
“Ruben Wills’ crimes were a shameful violation of the public trust,”said Schneiderman. “Now, after a conviction by a jury of his peers, Ruben Wills will face the consequences,”
“Ruben Wills stole taxpayer dollars to buy fancy purses and clothes for himself and his friends,” he added. “New Yorkers deserved better. Today’s conviction is another important step in our efforts to clean up New York politics and give voters the representation they deserve.”
State prosecutors argued that Wills used public matching funds from his 2009 campaign to pay $11,500 to Micro Targeting, a shell company purportedly created to translate and distribute campaign literature.
They said that money was instead directed to a non-profit called NY 4 Life, which Wills controlled.
Wills then allegedly withdrew the money and made a series of purchases, including a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag.
Prosecutors also detailed how Wills used $21,000 in state grant funds for personal and political expenses.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 10. Wills faces up to seven years in prison and will be automatically expelled from the City Council at sentencing.