Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CAROLYN EASON, a former New York City employee, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to two years of probation for her role in a bribery scheme involving a ring of day care centers. EASON pled guilty in March 2011 to receiving bribes in exchange for taking official action to benefit day care centers in Brooklyn, New York, and cooperated with the Government’s investigation. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain imposed today’s sentence.
According to the Complaint, the Information to which EASON pled guilty, and statements made during court proceedings:
EASON is a former Early Childhood Educational Consultant for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”). From 2006 to August 2010, she received $32,000 bribes from day care center owners in exchange for, among other things, overlooking health code violations at the centers.
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In addition to probation, Judge Swain ordered EASON, 64, of St. Albans, New York, to forfeit $32,000 and to pay $31,800 in restitution to the City of New York. EASON must also pay a $200 special assessment fee.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”).
EASON’s conviction is part of “Operation Pay Care,” a joint investigation led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and DOI. To date, 12 defendants have been convicted as part of Operation Pay Care. Of the convicted defendants, four City officials have been sentenced: Leonid Gutnik, a former Job Opportunity Specialist/Child Care Specialist for the New York City Human Resources Administration, received 40 months in prison; Aurora Villareal, the former Borough Manager for Brooklyn and Staten Island Group Child Care Programs at DOHMH, received four years in prison; Emile Nekhala, a former employee at DOHMH, received two years in prison; and Mariya Rapoport, a former employee at HRA, received three years of probation which included six months of home confinement. Four day care operators have also been sentenced: Lyudmila Grushko received nine months in prison; Inna Malinskaya received seven months in prison; Yana Krugly received six months in prison; and Grigoriy Sankin received three years of probation. In February 2012, New York City Fire Department Supervising Inspector Carlos Montoya also pled guilty to one count of bribery in connection with the scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 20, 2012. Defendants Liudmilla Umarov, and Rimma Volovnik have also pled guilty and await sentencing at a date to be determined.
This case is being handled by the Office's Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harris Fischman, Michael Bosworth and Brent Wible are in charge of the prosecution.