A former Maryland state delegate and ex-Prince George’s County Council member was sentenced to four and a half years in prison Wednesday in a bribery case prosecutors said involved “the use of taxpayer money as if it were a literal slush fund.”
William A. Campos, 43, of Hyattsville, pleaded guilty in January 2017 to accepting roughly $50,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for official favors and help obtaining government money. Most of the bribery and conspiracy scheme involved Campos’s misusing more than $300,000 in county money, including grants intended to help nonprofit organizations, federal prosecutors said. Campos accepted personal payments between 2007 and 2014 from those who wanted access to the funds.
At his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Campos apologized and said he was “young and stupid.”
“I don’t claim to be anything other than a human who makes mistakes,” Campos said.
Campos took bribes over seven years on at least seven different occasions, according to prosecutors. In one instance, Campos accepted $3,000 in the bathroom of a College Park restaurant after he agreed to help a business move to the county and also promised to direct $10,000 in government money to a nonprofit that the briber could control. The person making the payoff was a government informant.
Campos’s case was part of a larger federal investigation into a pay-to-play scheme involving state lawmakers who sold their votes on legislation to expand liquor store sales in Prince George’s County.
In March, a jury found former Maryland state Del. Michael L. Vaughn guilty of conspiracy and bribery for accepting cash from liquor store owners in exchange for votes.
Federal prosecutors have not detailed how Campos is involved with the liquor board scandal. But court documents describing an individual who agreed to cooperate with federal investigators in the liquor board probe align with details in Campos’s plea agreement.
Details such as conversations, promised favors and cash amounts in charges against those arrested in the liquor board case echo those described in Campos’s plea.
Vaughn and Campos are Democrats.
Campos was elected to the Prince George’s County Council in 2004, serving 10 years before becoming a state delegate in 2014. Nine months after serving as a state delegate, he resigned.