(Newsday) Former New York State Senate leader John Sampson was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday for lying and obstructing justice to cover up his misuse of escrow money.
Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry sentenced the former Democratic leader from Canarsie whose 2015 conviction was one in a string of corruption cases that have rocked Albany.
Sampson, 51, had allegedly used escrow funds he held as a lawyer to help finance a political campaign, then did favors for a businessman who gave him money to help cover up the misuse of funds.
He was not convicted of those charges, but was convicted of lying to the FBI and recruiting an old friend as a mole inside the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office to keep track of an investigation of the businessman.
The ex-legislator expressed remorse.
“My parents raised me better than this,” he told Irizarry. “They did not sacrifice for me to be in this predicament.”
But the judge, who also fined him $75,000, lashed him for selfishness while his wife was earning an annual salary of $750,000 as an accountant.
“What level of greed do you have to have to engage in this conduct?” she said.
Sampson faced up to 20 years in prison and prosecutors urged a sentence of 87 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
They said that in addition to his crimes, he improperly continued to engage in the practice of law in family court after his license was suspended due to his conviction.
Defense lawyers, citing Sampson’s good works as a legislator from 1997 to 2015, asked for a sentence of 366 days in prison or, alternatively, 18 months with half served under house arrest.