Nassau County Legislator Roger Corbin was arrested Wednesday on charges that he is a tax cheat.
Investigators said Corbin took more than $226,000 in payments from a developer and never reported that income to the IRS.
Officials said Corbin accepted dozens of payments in amounts less than $10,000 from 2005 through 2007 even though he never worked for the construction firms. When questioned about the payments, Corbin allegedly lied, saying the cash went to another man, but the FBI said that man has been dead for years.
Corbin represents parts of Westbury, New Cassel, Hempstead and Uniondale. Prosecutors said the payments relate to $60,000,000 in construction funds awarded by the Town of North Hempstead Community Development Agency. Corbin's one-time campaign treasurer was the executive director of the TNH-CDA. Three of the contracts awarded to one unnamed construction firm totaled $15,400,000. Investigators said the cash paid to Corbin came from that firm.
In all, investigators said Corbin accepted 82 checks, most in the amount of $1,500 to $3,000 each. The IRS said the money was never reported on Corbin's tax returns. Calls to Corbin's office were not returned but court papers said he denies the charges. During questioning by the FBI and IRS, Corbin claimed he is "a law maker, not a law breaker," according to the criminal complaint.
"The defendant violated the law by failing to file truthful federal tax returns, an obligation of all taxpayers, including elected public officials," United States Attorney Benton Campbell said. "He then compounded his crime by lying to federal agents to cover his tracks."
Corbin is expected to be arraigned late Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. Investigators would not explain why the charges are tax-related and not corruption-related. Investigators said Corbin used some of the money to pay his mortgage, make car payments, buy groceries, dine at restaurants and gamble in Atlantic City. The FBI said Corbin lost more than $100,000 during his gambling trips.
"This defendant put self-interest above public service," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Joseph Demarest said.