The FBI on Wednesday afternoon launched simultaneous raids on the Albany and Jamaica offices of Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica).
Paul Holstein, spokesman for the bureau’s Albany office, confirmed that agents executed two warrants. Scarborough said agents also searched his home and Albany hotel room.
Scarborough’s understanding is that he is being investigated by U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian of New York’s Northern District for alleged abuse of his Assembly per diem expenses.
A law enforcement source did tell the Chronicle that the raids were part of an ongoing investigation, but provided no details as to the scope.
Assembly members are allowed travel and lodging expenses, known as per diems, for each day they are in Albany to attend to legislative business.
The Daily News reported Wednesday that Scarborough claimed the highest total in the state for 2012, with $33,986.
Scarborough said he has consulted with an attorney, and after Wednesday did not intend to discuss the matter publicly until it is resolved.
The assemblyman said a list he was provided by FBI agents indicate a misunderstanding of how the Assembly’s voucher system works.
He said one example is when he taught classes at Brooklyn College two days a week.
“I would teach from 5 p.m. until about 6:30, go back home and pack for Albany,” he said, arriving back at the capital late in the evening.
“They say I’m claiming I’m in Albany when I’m in Brooklyn, but my understanding is if you spend the night in Albany you are allowed to claim it,” he said.
Scarborough has served in the Assembly since 1994. He is chairman of the Committee on Small Business, and once served as district manager for Community Board 12.