A friend of Mayor Eric Adams has been accused of being a fraudster who conned his girlfriend out of thousands threatening to tell her family she had been sleeping with a married man if she tried to sue him.

Champagne magnate William Benson, 39, flew insurance executive Stephanie Delpe around the world and showered her in expensive gifts before she realised that he was conning her – handing over more than $188k to the con-man.

He approached her at a networking event in Newark in 2016, and bragged that he had just landed on his private jet – before taking her out to luxury celebrity hotspots in New York.

Benson also bragged to her that he knew the New York City Mayor – regularly posting him and other celebrities, including DJ Khaled, on his social media.

Champagne magnate William Benson, 39, regularly brags on social media that he is friends with New York Mayor Eric Adams

He flew insurance executive Stephanie Delpe around the world and showered her in expensive gifts before she realised that he was conning her - handing over more than $188k to the con-man

He flew insurance executive Stephanie Delpe around the world and showered her in expensive gifts before she realised that he was conning her – handing over more than $188k to the con-man

Delpe, who is now married with children, believes that the champagne mogul name-dropped Adams to get people to trust him – with others coming forward and telling the New York Post he had conned them out of money.

Benson posted a screenshot of himself FaceTiming with the Mayor with the caption: ‘Just two ‘Goats’ trying to change the world.’

He regularly shared photos of the two out to dinner together, with his ex-wife claiming it is part of his way to get potential investors to trust him.  

Delpe and Benson spent thousands on lavish trips and meals during their year-long relationship, with Benson regularly posting his links to celebrities and his champagne business to keep up appearances.

But Delpe claims that he soon started asking her for money, posing it as a ‘business investment’ into his brand and that she would be reimbursed.

She told the New York Post: ‘He wooed me out of my savings. That’s what happened.

Benson posted a screenshot of himself FaceTiming with the Mayor with the caption: 'Just two 'Goats' trying to change the world' last year

Benson posted a screenshot of himself FaceTiming with the Mayor with the caption: ‘Just two ‘Goats’ trying to change the world’ last year

Delpe and Benson spent thousands on lavish trips and meals during their year-long relationship, with Benson regularly posting his links to celebrities and his champagne business to keep up appearances

Delpe and Benson spent thousands on lavish trips and meals during their year-long relationship, with Benson regularly posting his links to celebrities and his champagne business to keep up appearances

‘He told me, “You’re so intelligent. You should be doing things for yourself and invest your money for profit.”

‘It was really exciting and I thought we were doing something together. He asked me for somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000 — and when I said that sounded like a lot of money, he said it would be an investment.

‘He’d double my money.I had really good credit so I was able to access a lot of cash.’

Delpe took out money from her 401k and savings accounts and got advances on her credit cards to give the money to Benson.

She received a letter outlining the agreement from Billionaires Row, but grew concerned as to why he needed money from her.

The insurance executive decided to invest after Benson told her he landed a deal with IMG, a global sports, talent and events company.

His close relationship with the mayor also convinced his now ex-wife to invest $500,000 on 2010 to launch Billionaire Row

His close relationship with the mayor also convinced his now ex-wife to invest $500,000 on 2010 to launch Billionaire Row

Delpe took out money from her 401k and savings accounts and got advances on her credit cards to give the money to Benson

Delpe took out money from her 401k and savings accounts and got advances on her credit cards to give the money to Benson

The insurance executive decided to invest after Benson told her he landed a deal with IMG, a global sports, talent and events company

The insurance executive decided to invest after Benson told her he landed a deal with IMG, a global sports, talent and events company

He claimed that he would be sponsoring New York Fashion Week’s February and September shows – but was sued by IMG after he failed to cough up the sponsorship cash.

The lawsuit states that eh agreed to pay $200,000 and give at least 40 cases for each show during the two periods.

Documents show that the cases were sent to the February shows, but the company only paid $45,000 of the $100,000 sponsorship fee it owed for the first half of the year.

A judge ruled in October 2019 that the champagne company needed to pay back $182,000 to IMG – which has not been repaid.

Billionaires Row reportedly still owes IMG $155,000 according to the lawsuit, but the big name was enough to get Delpe on board. Pictured with Benson

Billionaires Row reportedly still owes IMG $155,000 according to the lawsuit, but the big name was enough to get Delpe on board. Pictured with Benson

Delpe also claimed that she forked out thousands for Benson to buy clothing for himself to 'look the part' as well as flying on jets

Delpe also claimed that she forked out thousands for Benson to buy clothing for himself to ‘look the part’ as well as flying on jets

Benson also bragged to her that he knew the New York City Mayor - regularly posting him and other celebrities, including DJ Khaled, on his social media

Benson also bragged to her that he knew the New York City Mayor – regularly posting him and other celebrities, including DJ Khaled, on his social media

Billionaires Row reportedly still owes IMG $155,000 according to the lawsuit, but the big name was enough to get Delpe on board.

She said: ‘Once I gave him the money, he must have thought, ‘This girl is an idiot’ — because he came back for more.

‘He told me it wasn’t enough, and IMG was about to cancel the deal, and we didn’t want to lose the initial investment.

‘I thought, if you have this great company and you’re making all this money, why do you need my money? Because there were times when it went beyond the investment. He’d tell me his money was tied up with the divorce proceedings.

‘There was a $350 charge from a grocery store where I thought someone had stolen my credit cards. He said, ‘Well, I need to feed my family.’

Delpe also claimed that she forked out thousands for Benson to buy clothing for himself to ‘look the part’ as well as flying on jets.

She added that when their relationship ended, she asked for her money back, with Benson telling her that it was a ‘gift’ and if she tried to sue him she would tell her family that she was sleeping with a married man.

The pair have yet to finalize their divorce, with Danni saying: 'That's William's credibility. He says, 'I know the mayor.' He uses him to his advantage'

The pair have yet to finalize their divorce, with Danni saying: ‘That’s William’s credibility. He says, ‘I know the mayor.’ He uses him to his advantage’

A publicist for Benson said that he and his attorneys are 'not aware' of a lawsuit or judgement from IMG, adding that he 'founded and funded' the business with his then-wife Danni

A publicist for Benson said that he and his attorneys are ‘not aware’ of a lawsuit or judgement from IMG, adding that he ‘founded and funded’ the business with his then-wife Danni

She added that when their relationship ended, she asked for her money back, with Benson telling her that it was a 'gift' and if she tried to sue him she would tell her family that she was sleeping with a married man

She added that when their relationship ended, she asked for her money back, with Benson telling her that it was a ‘gift’ and if she tried to sue him she would tell her family that she was sleeping with a married man

Delphe added: ‘It was kind of exciting to hop on a private jet and go places and be involved in things — that definitely appealed to me,’ she said. ‘I didn’t realize until later on that I was funding it.

‘I would hate to see this happen to someone else and know that I could have done something to stop it but didn’t.’

A publicist for Benson said that he and his attorneys are ‘not aware’ of a lawsuit or judgement from IMG, adding that he ‘founded and funded’ the business with his then-wife Danni.

His close relationship with the mayor also convinced his now ex-wife to invest $500,000 on 2010 to launch Billionaire Row.

The pair have yet to finalize their divorce, with Danni saying: ‘That’s William’s credibility. He says, ‘I know the mayor.’ He uses him to his advantage.’

Eight others have also claimed that Benson has conned them out of their money, with one former colleague saying he failed to show up for business meetings – adding: ‘The brand never grew beyond its flashy social media presence.’

Benson also launched BR Electric, which claimed on its website to retrofit gas-powered vehicles into electric ones and listed ‘NYC, Office of the Mayor’ as a project partner.

A spokesman for Adams said in a statement that ‘neither the Mayor’s Office, nor any other city agency, has any partnership with BR Electric or William Benson.’

Photos on Benson’s now private instagram page reveal images of him posing with the mayor, including kissing his head on a night out in Casa Cipriani.

After he won election as mayor, Benson posted a video saying ‘I just want to say I love you. Cheers to the next mayor of New York City.’



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