70 New York Housing Authority employees charged with bribery, extortion

(Xinhua) 13:45, February 07, 2024

NEW YORK, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged 70 current and former employees of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) with bribery and extortion in a corruption investigation.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams announced the largest single-day bribery case in the history of the Department of Justice.

Prosecutors said superintendents or assistant superintendents had solicited bribes from contractors to do repair or construction work on NYCHA properties, and if they did not pay, they would award the work to someone else.

As alleged, the defendants typically demanded approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of contract value, pocketing between 500 U.S. dollars and 2,000 dollars depending on the size of contract. In total, they are accused of demanding over 2 million dollars in bribes in exchange for awarding over 13 million dollars worth of no-bid contracts.

"Instead of acting in the interests of NYCHA residents, the City of New York, or taxpayers, the 70 defendants charged today allegedly used their jobs at NYCHA to line their own pockets," Williams said in the announcement.

"My Office is firmly committed to cleaning up the corruption that has plagued NYCHA for far too long so that its residents can be served with integrity and have the high-quality affordable homes that they deserve. The culture of corruption at NYCHA ends today," he said.

All 70 accused NYCHA employees have been suspended. Federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations have arrested 65 defendants in six states and all five boroughs of New York City.

According to publicly filed documents, NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in the country, providing housing to one in 17 New Yorkers in 335 developments across the city and receiving over 1.5 billion dollars in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development every year.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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