NYC Council Member Ruben Wills arrested in corruption probe

NYC Council Member Ruben Wills arrested in corruption probe

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Council Member Ruben Wills (D) Council Member Ruben Wills (D)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

City Council Member Ruben Wills has been charged in connection with an ongoing New York City political corruption probe.

An indictment unsealed in Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday charges him with a dozen crimes in two schemes. Investigators with the state Attorney General's Office arrested Wills and his relative Jelani Mills on Wednesday.

They were arraigned in Queens County Supreme Court for allegedly stealing taxpayer money in two schemes: $19,000 from a charity Wills set up for single moms listed on his website as NY 4 Life and $11,500 from taxpayer provided campaign finance money for Wills. Wills, 42, allegedly paid a company owned by Mills for translation services that were allegedly never done.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the schemes very calculating and despicable.

Wills was once chief of staff to state Sen. Shirley Huntley, who was convicted in 2013 of stealing taxpayer funds. Huntley directed $33,000 to Wills' NY 4 Life program from the New York State Office of Child and Family services, which never got an accounting of the money except for $14,000 spent on one luncheon honoring a single mom.

After he was released without having to post bail money, Wills said he would stay in office and fight the charges. He said he is "presumed innocent" and that he has the full support of his constituents. His office on Sutphin Boulevard was closed, and he seemed to have little support from the constituents we spoke to.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito calls the charges "troubling" and has removed Wills' access to discretionary funds.

Mills has insurance fraud convictions. He remains in jail until he posts $50,000 bail.

Schneiderman said the arrests are part of an ongoing investigation of corrupt politicians in Queens. That likely means we can expect more arrests in the future.

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