Sunset Park

Assemblymember Ortiz aide arrested for alleged $80k embezzlement

August 8, 2019 Alex Williamson
Assemblymember Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) speaks during a public forum on climate change on Monday in Albany. Nearly two dozen state lawmakers want New York's public pension fund to drop stock holdings in oil, natural gas and coal companies as part of a movement against global warming. AP Photo/Mike Groll

A staffer for State Assembly Assistant Speaker Félix Ortiz was arrested by federal investigators Thursday on charges of wire fraud. The staffer, 29-year-old Maruf Alam of Kensington, allegedly diverted around $80,000 in campaign funds to his personal bank account, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said.

According to authorities, Alam submitted false campaign finance disclosure reports to the New York State Board of Elections and failed to disclose large cash withdrawals from the campaign’s bank account.

Alam has held various titles within Ortiz’s office since 2012, including chief of staff, according to the complaint.

When FBI agents interviewed Ortiz in March, the assemblymember stated that Alam had acted as treasurer for two campaign accounts “on a volunteer basis” and in that capacity had filed the disclosure reports to the New York State Board of Elections, according to court documents.

An FBI review of Alam’s personal checking account revealed large cash deposits that appear inconsistent with his earnings, according to the complaint.

Ortiz, who represents Sunset Park, released a statement Thursday afternoon declining to comment on the allegations.

“I am just now being made aware of the charges against my staff member. I do not have any further information,” he said.

Alam was scheduled to appear in court at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday and was expected to be released on bond, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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