Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of DARYL JONES, 53, a caseworker for the New York City Human Resources Administration (“HRA”), for receiving bribes in exchange for information regarding clients of the Home Energy Assistance Program (“HEAP”), a federally-funded program administered by HRA that helps low-income New Yorkers pay for heating bills and repairs. A separately-charged defendant, ALVARO BLAKE, 54, a former HRA supervisor, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court for receiving a bribe. On June 8, 2011, a third separately-charged defendant, RODCLIFF LEVY, 44, the owner of several plumbing and heating companies, pled guilty to charges of Bribery and Offering a False Instrument for Filing.

“On the hottest day of the year so far, it’s incongruous to think about New Yorkers suffering through the long, cold months of winter. But it happens every year, and these defendants are accused of rigging a program designed to help low-income New Yorkers with costly heating bills and repairs,” said District Attorney Vance. “We need to maintain the integrity of our social service programs, and keep them safe from corruption. We thank the New York City Department of Investigation and Human Resources Administration for their work in this joint investigation.”

New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said: “These City employees were entrusted with assisting clients in need. Instead, they are charged with selling access to the clients they were supposed to help. HRA reported to DOI concerns about possible contract collusion, and as a result investigators successfully uncovered and halted this bribery scheme. DOI also worked with HRA to identify and stop unlicensed plumbers from obtaining contracts in the future. Thanks to our partnerships with the Manhattan District Attorney and our fellow City agencies these crimes were exposed and stopped and corruption gaps were remedied.”

HRA Commissioner Robert Doar said: “HRA staff discovered this activity and immediately brought it to the attention of the Department of Investigation. The vast majority of HRA employees honestly and appropriately deliver needed assistance to low income New Yorkers but when we discover corrupt behavior we have a responsibility to pursue it aggressively with our partners in law enforcement.”

According to documents filed with the court, LEVY was the owner of three heating companies located in Long Island: Solo Heating & Cooling Inc., Drumond Heating & Plumbing Inc., and Cliff’s Piping & Heating. These companies repaired and replaced boilers for homebound New York City residents through the HEAP, which is administered by the HRA. In order to obtain contracts to repair and replace boilers, LEVY is accused of paying two HRA caseworkers, JONES and BLAKE, for information on HEAP clients in need of boiler repair and replacement, in an effort to circumvent the bidding process. HEAP policy forbids caseworkers from referring boiler replacement contractors to their clients, and instead requires clients to obtain their own contractors.

JONES is charged with six counts of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree for accepting six payments from LEVY totaling approximately $1,350 between November 2007 and March 2009. BLAKE is charged with Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree and Receiving Unlawful Gratuities for accepting an approximately $250 payment from LEVY in December 2006, in exchange for information related to a HEAP client’s boiler replacement.

On June 8, 2011, LEVY pled guilty to Bribery in the Third Degree in connection with an illegal payment he made to JONES in February 2009 for HEAP client information. LEVY also pled guilty to Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree for filing fraudulent documents with HRA falsely claiming that he had a Master’s Plumber’s License, which is required to perform boiler repair or replacements for HEAP. LEVY is expected to be sentenced on September 14, 2011.

District Attorney Vance thanked New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn for her office’s assistance in the investigation, and in particular thanked Inspector General Patrick Russo and Special Investigator Carmelo Galarza, who was assigned the investigation. District Attorney Vance also thanks New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Buckheit is handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Daniel G. Cort, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Scotto, Chief of the Rackets Bureau. Supervising Investigator Santiago Batista handled the investigation with assistance from Investigator Jason Malone. Trial Preparation Assistant Michael LaRusso also assisted in the investigation.

Defendant Information:

DARYL JONES, D.O.B. 11/6/1957
Cambria Heights, N.Y.

• Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, a class D felony, six counts

ALVARO BLAKE, D.O.B. 8/12/56
New York, N.Y.

• Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
• Receiving Unlawful Gratuities, a class A misdemeanor, one count

Baldwin Woods, N.Y.

Pled Guilty:
• Bribery in the Third Degree , a class D felony, one count
• Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count

A class D felony is punishable by up to 2⅓ to 7 years in prison and a class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1 year in jail.