Former City Council candidate Albert Baldeo busted for using ‘straw donors’ to steal matching funds
By CHUCK BENNETT
A prominent Queens Democrat and one-time candidate for City Council was busted this morning for allegedly using bogus “straw donors” to rip off matching funds from Campaign Finance Board.
Albert Baldeo, a Democratic district leader representing southeastern Queens, was slapped with four counts of conspiracy and fraud by Manhattan federal prosecutors and faces more than 20 years in the slammer.
“Baldeo was so focused on securing a position with the New York City Council that he was willing to break the law to increase his chances,” said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.
Baldeo, 52, an immigration attorney, lost his 2010 Democratic primary to Ruben Willis.
“Mr. Baldeo allegedly fabricated contributions to his campaign in order to receive $6 in matching funds for every dollar he raised,” said FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan.
He sought to turn $15,000 into $90,000 by recruiting people to make donations then providing them money orders or cash to do so, the feds allege.
Baldeo was also charged with obstructing the investigation for lying to the feds and instructing his sham donors to lie. He surrendered Wednesday, authorities said, and was expected later today in federal court.
He also ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2006.