QUEENS — The arrest of City Councilman Ruben Wills and a relative, Jelani Mills, Wednesday morning comes on the heels of a number of arrests of Queens politicians in recent years. Wills, 42, and Mills, 30, have been accused of misusing public funds and falsifying business records, the state Attorney General said.
Here’s a list of who is who:
Ruben Wills, 42, is a Democratic councilman, representing District 28, which covers Jamaica, South Jamaica, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.
According to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday morning, Wills is accused of using a charity he founded in 2006 for single moms, New York 4 Life, as a slush fund for personal expenses.
Wills received $33,000 in state funding for his charity, but after spending $14,000 to organize one program, he used $19,000 for his personal use, purchasing items at Nordstrom and Century 21 department stores, prosecutors say.
He also used a shell company, Micro Targeting, ran by his relative, Jelemi Mills, to steal more than $11,000 in matching city campaign funds, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office.
As a result of the scheme, prosecutors say, Wills stole total of $30,500 from the city and the state.
Wills was elected to the Council in 2010 during a special election after the death of Councilman Thomas White, Jr. He took office in 2011.
According to his City Council page, Wills was born in Southeast Queens and raised in the South Jamaica Houses.
He went to public schools, including Thomas Edison High School.
He served as chief of staff to former State Senator Shirley Huntley from 2006 to 2008.
Jeleni Mills, 30, is related to Ruben Wills, but prosecutors did not specify their relationship. Mills, who lives in St. Albans, was arrested along with Wills Wednesday and charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records, according to the indictment.
Mills, prosecutors said pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in August 2008. He was also convicted on a disorderly conduct charge in March 2010. In January 2014, he was arrested for marijuana sale and possession.
According to the state Attorney General’s office, Mills is the sole employee of a company called Micro Targeting, which Wills used as a shell company to funnel government funds.
Shirley Huntley, 75, is a former Democratic state senator who represented Southeast Queens from 2007 until losing her seat in 2012.
She was sentenced to a year in federal prison for taking $87,700 from a Queens charity — Parents Information Network Inc. — that she ran.
Huntley obtained public funds for the nonprofit to help educate parents about public schools, but according to prosecutors, she used the funds for her own purposes.
When Huntley was being investigated for misusing public funds, she decided to cooperate with federal investigators. At some point, she invited several elected officials, including Wills, to her house in Jamaica, where she recorded their conversations.
Wills was one of seven elected officials who were recorded on a wiretap worn by Huntley.
In 2010, she earmarked $33,000 for Wills’ New York 4 Life charity, prosecutors said.