Key architect of Eric Adams straw donor scheme pleads guilty to larceny

A key architect of a straw donor scheme to help get New York City Mayor Eric Adams elected pleaded guilty to larceny on Thursday.

Shamsuddin Riza, who owns a construction company, pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to make illegal campaign donations, according to court records. He was charged alongside five others last year in a scheme that allegedly diverted thousands of dollars in public matching funds to Adams’s campaign.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office said Riza and co-defendant Dwayne Montgomery “sought influence for themselves and their associates” while recruiting straw donors to organize their operation.

“FYI ! This is the one I want , Safety , Drywall , and Security one project but we all can eat,” Riza wrote in a July 2021 email to Montgomery, according to the indictment. “Please show to him before Event it will start when he’s in office.”

He was allegedly sending along information for a construction project that he indicated he hoped he would secure from the city.

The Associated Press reported last year that a City Hall spokesperson said Adams never discussed city business with any of the defendants but may have spoken to Montgomery about other matters in passing. Adams has not been accused of any wrongdoing in this case.

The scheme allegedly took advantage of the city’s matching funds program, which would provide an eight-to-one match from the New York City Campaign Finance Board for the first $250 donated to a political campaign by a city resident.

Riza and the other co-defendants were accused of recruiting straw donors to donate to the Adams campaign to work around individual contribution limits. Those straw donors would later be reimbursed by the defendants, according to the indictment.

Politico and NY Daily News reported that Riza is the fourth defendant to plead guilty in the case.

The Associated Press contributed.

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