Took Kickbacks To Overlook Violations
A St. Albans woman has been sentenced for her role in a bribery scheme involving a ring of day care centers in Brooklyn, federal law enforcement sources announced on Monday, Aug. 13.
Carolyn Eason, 64, pled guilty in March 2011 to receiving bribes in exchange for taking official action to benefit several day care facilities. According to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, she cooperated with the government’s investigation.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain sentenced Eason to two years’ probation and also ordered her to forfeit $32,000 and pay $31,800 in restitution the City of New York. Eason must also pay a $200 special assessment fee.
According to the criminal complaint, Eason formerly worked as an early childhood educational consult- ant for the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Between 2006 and August 2010, federal authorities said, she accepted $32,000 in bribes from day care center owners in exchange for, among other things, overlooking health code violations.
Eason’s conviction was part of “Operation Pay Care,” a joint investigation by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the city Department of Investigation. To date, 12 individuals have been convicted, including four city officials who have been sentenced.
The sentenced defendants include Leonid Gutnik, a former job opportunity specialist and child care specialist for the city’s Human Resources Administration, who is serving 40 months in prison; Aurora Villareal, former borough manager for Brooklyn and Staten Island Group Child Care programs at the city Health Department, who received four years in prison; Emile Nekhala, a former Health Department employee, who received two years in prison; and Mariya Rapoport, a former Human Resources Administration employee, who received three years’ probation and six months house arrest.
Four day care operators have also been sentenced, including Lyudmila Grushko (nine months in prison), Inna Malinskaya (seven months in prison), Yana Krugly (six months in prison) and Grigoriy Sankin (three years’ probation).
Additionally, Fire Department Supervising Inspector Carlos Montoya pled guilty in February to a count of bribery in connection with the scheme; he is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 20. Liudmila Umarov and Rimma Volovnik have also pled their sentencing date has yet to be announced.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara thanked the Department of Investigabruising tion for their assistance in the probe.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harris Fischman, Michael Bosworth and Brent Wible of the Public Corruption Unit.