State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment of New York City Council Member Ruben Wills for allegedly filing false documents with the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board. The case is the latest joint investigation under the Operation Integrity partnership of the Attorney General and Comptroller which has resulted in dozens of convictions and more than $6 million in restitution.
Mr. Wills was indicted by a New York County Grand Jury after an investigation revealed Mr. Wills’ failure to truthfully disclose information as required by New York City law. Under New York City law, elected officials are required to file annual financial disclosure reports in order to provide accountability by public servants and to help ensure that no prohibited conflicts exist between the filer’s official duties and private interests.
“Submitting false documents to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board is a serious crime,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office’s partnership with the Comptroller is designed to combat corruption in the public sector, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the public trust is not undercut by public servants who are not truthful in their disclosures.”
"These alleged actions reveal a disdain for honest disclosure,” State Comptroller DiNapoli said. “My partnership with the Attorney General in Operation Public Integrity will continue to expose corruption and hold wrongdoers accountable.”
The indictment charges Mr. Wills with five counts of the Class E felony of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law § 175.35. The five counts of the indictment relate to the filing of a 2011 annual disclosure report, an amended 2011 annual disclosure report, a 2012 annual disclosure report, an amended 2012 annual disclosure report, and a 2013 annual disclosure report. In each of the filings, Mr. Wills failed to disclose certain financial dealings. If convicted, Mr. Wills faces up to one-and-a-third to four years in prison.
The investigation was handled by Investigators Gerard Matheson and Angel LaPorte. Also assisting in the investigation was Legal Support Analyst KerryAnn Rodriguez. The Attorney General’s Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.
Assistant Attorneys General Jerrold L. Steigman and Andrew L. Weinstein, of the Public Integrity Bureau, are prosecuting the case. The case is supervised by Bureau Chief Daniel G. Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Division is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.
The joint investigation was conducted with the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations and Bureau of State Expenditures. The Attorney General would like to thank the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Anyone with additional information on this or any other public corruption matter is encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-996-4630 or the Comptroller’s Office at 1-888-672-4555; file a complaint online at [email protected]; or mail a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller of Investigations Unit, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.
DiNapoli encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at [email protected], or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Investigations Unit, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.