NEW CITY – Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe announced the indictment of former bus company owner Richard Brega of Tomkins Cove, for steering thousands of dollars in political contributions to the 2013 primary election campaign of an incumbent Rockland County legislator seeking the Office of County Executive.
The defendant was charged by a Rockland County Grand Jury with ten counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, class “E” Felonies. On July 24, 2017, Brega was arrested on the indictment by detectives of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.
The arrest is the culmination of a joint investigation by the Public Corruption Task Force and the New York State Board of Elections Division of Election Law Enforcement, said Zugibe.
“Hiding the true source of campaign donations from election officials and the public fundamentally impacts the transparency of our democratic system of governance,” said District Attorney Zugibe. “Working closely with the Public Corruption Task Force, my office will continue to uncover illicit schemes that evade campaign finance laws and prosecute those who seek to facilitate illegal political contributions.”
According to the indictment, between April 2013 and August 2013, Brega used straw donors to unlawfully funnel more than $40,000 in cash to the County Executive campaign of Town of Ramapo Legislator Ilan Schoenberger.
Brega is accused of recruiting ten individuals to contribute thousands of dollars each to the “Friends of Ilan Schoenberger” campaign fund. According to the charges, the defendant provided the straw donors the contribution amounts in cash. The ten individuals included employees of Brega’s company, Brega Transportation, as well as the defendant’s family members and friends. The campaign contribution limit for an individual donating to Legislator Schoenberger in 2013 was $9,221. The straw donations were reported by “Friends of Ilan Schoenberger” to the New York State Board of Elections as individual contributions of the ten straw donors. Brega is accused of causing those records to be false, as the money that was funneled into the Schoenberger account was his own.
A “straw donation” involves the making of a surreptitious donation by illegally using another person’s (the “straw donor’s”) name, according to Zugibe.
Arraignment on the indictment is pending.
Brega faces a maximum of four years in state prison.