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Feds Raid Queens Assemblyman's Office Amid Expense Probe

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Another state lawmaker could be in trouble with the law, as Assemblyman William Scarborough of Queens had his offices raided by the FBI Wednesday. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

At 5:45 a.m. Wednesday, FBI agents arrived at the Albany hotel room of Assemblyman William Scarborough.

They had questions about his "per diems," the taxpayer-funded vouchers that state lawmakers receive for overnight and travel reimbursements when they are in Albany for legislative business.

"They presented to me about four separate items of the number that they claim they had," Scarborough said. "I will tell you that of those items that they presented to me, I think most of them are refutable."

Law enforcement officials seized Scarborough's cellphone and raided his offices both in Albany and in his southeast Queens district.

A year and a half ago, the New York Post reported that several state lawmakers were abusing their per diems, claiming that they were in Albany when they were actually in New York City. Lawmakers receive $165 for overnight visits, plus up to $61 for travel expenses. This comes on top of their $79,500 annual salary.

Some of Scarborough's constituents were puzzled over the FBI raid.

"I don't know. I know Scarborough's been an upstanding person. He's a member of my church, and I've never heard anybody say anything bad about him," said one.

Scarborough allegedly put in for Albany expenses when he was in New York City teaching a course at Brooklyn College.

"It is unfortunate, because no matter what happens at the end of this, what people will see is what's going on right now," Scarborough said. "But I do not believe that I have misrepresented the Assembly."

This is just the latest case of alleged corruption in Albany. Two state senators are under indictment, and members of the Assembly have also been accused or convicted of misconduct.

Governor Andrew Cuomo had pushed for a package of anti-corruption measures, but so far, state leaders have not reached an agreement. They are currently working toward a state budget, which is due next week. It's unclear if anti-corruption provisions will be included now, along with campaign finance reform, which is being negotiated.

Scarborough was not arrested by the FBI, prompting some to question how strong their evidence is. In a statement, the FBI confirmed the raid but would not provide any additional details.

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