Today’s news:

Four arrested of stealing NYCHA funds collected for space rentals

Rose Gill Hearn, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), announced the arrests of three employees and one former employee of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Community Centers in the Bronx on charges of stealing, in separate cases, more than $10,000 paid by residents and a church for room rentals, summer camp fees and after-school program fees. Those charged worked in a range of positions at the centers, from community service aide to center director.

Gill Hearn said, “This investigation was all the more troubling because supervisors at the community centers were arrested. These individuals should have alerted DOI to potential wrongdoing. Instead, they are charged with participating in the corruption. DOI will continue to work with NYCHA to identify and stop wrongdoing.”

The following individuals were arrested Thursday, June 26, , and are expected to be arraigned today:

Bruce Artis, 32, director of NYCHA’s University Consolidated Houses’ Community Center at 1925 University Avenue, has been charged with grand larceny in the third degree, a class D felony; grand larceny in the fourth degree; criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and 48 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, class E felonies. In addition, he was charged with misdemeanor offenses. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison. According to the criminal complaint, between February 2007 and April 2008, Artis accepted 48 money orders, at $175 each, from a church as payment for renting the center’s event room. Rather than giving the money orders, which totaled approximately $8,400, to NYCHA as required, Artis is charged with keeping the money and failing to make required records of the room rentals. Artis has been employed by NYCHA since December 1999 and earns an annual salary of approximately $48,500.

Roberto Cabrera, 47, a NYCHA community service aide at Bronx River Community Center at 1619 E. 174th Street, has been charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree; criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, six counts of falsifying business records in the first degree and misdemeanor offenses. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison. According to the criminal complaint, between January 2007 and November 2007, Cabrera accepted six payments of cash or money orders for the rental of an event room at the community center. NYCHA policy prohibited Cabrera from accepting cash payments for event room rentals and allowed only U.S. postal money orders to be used for payment. Cabrera is charged with keeping cash and money orders, which totaled more than $1,000, and failing to make required records of the room rentals. Cabrera has been employed at NYCHA since November 1992 and earns an annual salary of approximately $26,320.

Daisy Oliveras, 43, a former NYCHA CSA at BRCC, has been charged with falsifying business records in the first degree and misdemeanor offenses. If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison. According to the criminal complaint, from October 4 to 23, 2007, Oliveras accepted a $100 money order for an event room rental at the center and is charged with cashing it at a post office, keeping the money and failing to make a required record of the room rental. Oliveras began working at NYCHA in January 2003 and resigned in March 2008. At the time of her resignation she was earning an annual salary of approximately $26,320.

Norma Saunders, 39, NYCHA’s Bronx Borough administrator for Community Operations and former director at BRCC, has been charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree; 10 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree; criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and misdemeanor offenses. If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison. According to the criminal complaint, between September 2005 and May 2007, Saunders was director of the BRCC and accepted 10 money orders as payment for programs and services offered at the center. She is charged with cashing the money orders, keeping the money, which totaled more than $1,000, and failing to make required records of the transactions. Saunders was promoted to her current title in the spring of 2007. She has been employed at NYCHA since February 1997 and earns an annual salary of approximately $64,340.   

At DOI’s recommendation during the investigation, NYCHA began conducting random checks of community center rentals and reported an irregularity to DOI, which assisted DOI in its investigation.

Gill Hearn thanks NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez and members of his staff for their assistance and cooperation on this investigation.

The investigation was conducted by DOI’s Inspector General for NYCHA, Robert J. McSweeney, and members of his staff, including Senior Deputy Inspector General Ralph Iannuzzi, Assistant Inspector General Suzanne Vitti, Chief Investigator John Reatz, and Special Investigator Louis Vega.

The office of Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Senior Assistant District Attorney Richard Baker.

Pin It
Print this story

CNG: Community Newspaper Group