NEW YORK — A former state assemblyman from a family of Brooklyn politicians was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison in a scheme to take bribes from a carnival promoter and two undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town real estate investors.
The sentence for William Boyland Jr. fell short of the minimum of 19 years sought by prosecutors but exceeded many of the prison terms imposed on other state lawmakers in a string of Albany corruption cases.
Appearing in federal court in Brooklyn, Boyland offered no apology for his conviction last year and instead recounted some of his good deeds while serving in the legislature for more than a decade.
"I thank God for giving me the opportunity to help," he said.
U.S. District Judge Sandra Townes scolded the 45-year-old Democrat by saying he had "violated the trust of his office and his constituents."
At trial, prosecutors built a case around hours of audio and video recordings from a sting operation and the testimony of Boyland's former chief of staff, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges and testified for the government.
Boyland didn't dispute that he drank and dined with the undercover agents during meetings at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, Peter Luger steakhouse in Brooklyn and the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City. But his lawyers said his only offense was making empty promises, or "playing the players."
Boyland first came under scrutiny in 2010 when he accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to help a carnival promoter obtain permits and leases, prosecutors said. At the direction of the FBI, the promoter introduced the assemblyman to the undercover agents.
During a meeting in an Atlantic City hotel room in 2011, the lawmaker was caught on tape offering to arrange a deal for the phony businessmen to buy a hospital in his district at a discount and secure state funds for a renovation in exchange for $250,000.
After one of the agents told Boyland not to "be bashful" in naming his price, the legislator said, "Two fifty." The former chief of staff testified she helped him use $50,000 in state funds meant for a nonprofit to throw a 2008 party for elderly voters that featured a James Brown impersonator.
Boyland's uncle, Thomas Boyland, represented the same Brooklyn district in the Assembly from 1977 to 1982. After he died in office, his brother, William Boyland Sr., was elected to fill the seat.
In 2002, the elder Boyland easily won re-election to an 11th two-year term but resigned between the election and the start of the next session to turn the seat over to his son.
In court papers, defense attorneys had questioned whether William Boyland's offenses were any worse than other corrupt politicians serving 10 years or less behind bars. Prosecutors countered by citing evidence that Boyland continued to accept bribes even while under indictment in a separate federal case.
"The scope of the defendant's arrogance and the breadth of his criminal conduct are staggering," they wrote.