Federal prosecutors in New York have charged 70 current and former employees of New York City public housing with accepting kickbacks from contractors. The charges allege that these individuals received kickbacks in exchange for awarding city contracts.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated, “We were trying to send a message with a 70-person takedown” as he announced the arrests in all five boroughs and six states.
About 100 public housing projects in New York City had superintendents and assistant superintendents who accepted $2 million in kickbacks from contractors in exchange for small jobs under $10,000 that did not need to go to bid.
Williams remarked, “This was classic pay to play. This conduct became a regular practice.”
In the history of the Department of Justice, the charges made against the workers of the New York City Housing Authority represent the highest number of federal bribery cases filed on a single day.
The reported behavior commenced in 2013 and continued until 2023, according to prosecutors. Contractors who refused to pay kickbacks were excluded from obtaining work.
As of Tuesday, all 70 NYCHA employees facing charges have been suspended. Homeland Security Investigations arrested 65 defendants in six states and all five boroughs.
The city’s Department of Investigation stated that the purported fraud resulted in increased costs for minor repairs, diverted funds, and undermined the trust of public housing residents.
According to DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber, “the bribery and extortion that is charged here allegedly exploited the no-bid process for goods and services under $10,000.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, Homeland Security Investigations, and the city’s Department of inquiry are all involved in the inquiry.