HomeLatest NewsBribery Bombshell: 70 NYC Employees Nabbed in Justice Department Sting

Bribery Bombshell: 70 NYC Employees Nabbed in Justice Department Sting

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The Justice Department announced earlier this month a record-breaking series of arrests allegedly made by former and current employees of the New York City Housing Authority. The arrests marked the highest number of bribery accusations imposed in a single day and involved 70 people accused of illicit activities.

The defendants have been accused of filling their pockets with cash from contractors who wanted to do business in New York City. The operation was a result of the collaboration between federal and local authorities in uncovering the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated: “Instead of allegedly acting in the interest of NYCHA residents or the City of New York taxpayers, 70 defendants were charged today for allegedly using their jobs at NYCHA as a way to line their pockets. This is the biggest bribery bust in the history Justice Department. NYCHA residents deserve better. My Office is committed to cleaning the corruption that has plagued NYCHA for far too long so that its residents are served with integrity and receive the high-quality affordable homes they deserve. “The culture of corruption in NYCHA must end today.”

Merrick Garland, the Attorney General of California, echoed Williams’ sentiments and said that the alleged crimes were “serious violations of public trust.”

The scandal revolves around allegations that NYCHA employees abused positions to obtain no-bid contracts in exchange for millions in bribes. The kickbacks were between 10 and 20 percent. The government and taxpayers were defrauded by the alleged pay-to-play scheme. Rae Oliver Davis, HUD Inspector-General, said that the scheme hurt more than 200,000 residents’ quality of life.

Nearly a third of the NYCHA buildings in all five boroughs were allegedly bribed.

Sixty-six of those who face charges were arrested in various locations including New York City and New Jersey. All were arraigned before a federal court and released with a $50,000 bond.

The federal government gives more than $1.5 Billion a Year to NYCHA, the largest public housing authority in the country. One out of every 17 New Yorkers live in a NYCHA-managed building. There are 335 developments.

Nearly a third of the NYCHA buildings in all five boroughs were allegedly bribed.

Sixty-six of those who face charges were arrested in various locations including New York City and New Jersey. All were arraigned before a federal court and released with a $50,000 bond.

The prosecution claims that superintendents and assistant superintendents demanded money from contractors to perform repairs or construction on NYCHA property. If they refused, the work would be awarded to someone else.

As we allege, 70 defendants today allegedly demanded more than $2 million in bribes from contractors in return for completing over $13 million of work in NYCHA buildings. If the contractors did not pay, the defendants would refuse to give them the job. This is classic pay-to-play, and the culture of corruption in NYCHA has ended today,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. The corruption that we have alleged has spread to every part of the city. The charges reveal that superintendents were extorting contractors for bribes and accepting them as part of their business at over 100 NYCHA properties in all five boroughs. This is nearly a third of all NYCHA properties.”

Ivan J. Arvelo is the Homeland Security Investigations Special agent in charge. He cited that criminal activity could have cheated residents out of better programs and services.

The charges brought against the NYCHA employees are a reminder of how corrupt government can be. Indictments may lead to calls for more transparency in the way public contracts are awarded and a rethinking of measures taken to prevent this abuse of power.

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