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July 21, 08

NEWS / RETIRED MOUNT VERNON OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY: NY


U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
July 16, 2008
HERBERT HADAD, YUSILL SCRIBNER,
REBEKAH CARMICHAEL, JANICE OH
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
(914) 993-1900, (212) 637-2600

MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that JAMES CASTALDO, a
former high-ranking supervisor for the City of Mount Vernon
Department of Public Works, pleaded guilty today to accepting
bribes from waste haulers in return for allowing them to overbill
the City of Mount Vernon by at least $1.25 million for the
removal of debris from a municipal storage yard.
CASTALDO pleaded guilty before United States District
Judge KENNETH M. KARAS in White Plains federal court a two count
criminal Information (the “Information”) charging bribery and
conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
An Indictment against waste haulers involved in the
scheme was unsealed on March 19, 2008 (the “Indictment”).
According to the Information, the Indictment and the
criminal Complaint against CASTALDO unsealed on April 1, 2008, a
Westchester waste-hauling company, A & D Carting, obtained a
contract with the City of Mount Vernon in November 2001 to remove
waste from a City storage yard at a price of $397 per 30-cubicyard
container removed. To bill the City of Mount Vernon under
the contract, A & D Carting was required to submit invoices
identifying how many 30-cubic-yard containers were removed on
particular dates, together with a pre-printed receipt form (which
is commonly referred to as a “ticket”) for the removal of each
container. The tickets were supposed to be signed by a City of
Mount Vernon employee at the yard at the time each container was
carted away.
From 2002 through March 2006, Albert Tranquillo III,
who controlled and operated A & D Carting, defrauded the City of
Mount Vernon by submitting tickets and invoices claiming that far
more waste had been carted away from the yard than had actually
been removed, it was charged.
-2-
According to the Information and Complaint, CASTALDO
and another DPW employee who worked at the Mount Vernon storage
yard agreed that the employee would initial as many tickets as A
& D Carting drivers gave to him. These tickets falsely
represented that A & D Carting had carted away far more debris
from the Mount Vernon storage yard than had actually been
removed. These extra tickets were then mailed to the City of
Mount Vernon together with invoices which significantly
overstated the amount of waste removed. As a result, the City of
Mount Vernon is alleged to have been defrauded of at least $1.25
million.
CASTALDO, who retired in 2005, accepted bribes from A & D
Carting as part of the scheme to overbill the City of Mount
Vernon. When A & D Carting received checks from Mount Vernon,
CASTALDO would call A & D Carting and, using code, request a
payment from Tranquillo or his relative. CASTALDO, the Complaint
alleges, paid a portion of the bribes he received to the DPW
employee who initialed the fraudulent tickets.
CASTALDO, age 61, admitted to Judge KARAS this morning
that he had taken bribes from the waste haulers and that he had
conspired with them to defraud the City of Mount Vernon.
CASTALDO faces a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment as
well as financial penalties, including restitution to the City of
Mount Vernon. CASTALDO is scheduled to be sentenced on October
24, 2008, at 12 noon.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative work of the FBI
and stated that the investigation is ongoing.
Assistant United States Attorney ARLO DEVLIN-BROWN is
in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment against the
waste haulers are merely accusations, and those defendants are
presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Source: http://newyork.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel08/bribery071608.pdf

 




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