A federal jury in Central Islip returned a guilty verdict today against Cornell Bozier, the former Chairman of the Board of Commissioners at the Village of Hempstead Housing Authority (VHHA) on four counts of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and federal program bribery. The verdict followed a two-week trial before United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack. When sentenced, Bozier faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Christina Scaringi, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Region (HUD-OIG), announced the verdict.
“As found by the jury, having been trusted to serve the residents of low-income housing as a Village of Hempstead public official, Bozier instead lied, cheated and stole federal funds for himself,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “If, like Mr. Bozier, you betray the public you are hired to serve, expect to find yourself in a courtroom facing the consequences.”
“Plain and simple, this is a case of greed; Bozier and his co-conspirators engaged in public corruption for personal gain,” said HUD-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Scaringi. “We are not talking about the abstract here, this is a case involving real money that should have been used to improve the lives of those living within the public housing authority that these offenders were entrusted to serve.”
The evidence at trial established that between March 2011 and November 2012, Bozier engaged in schemes with his co-conspirators – contractors James Alimonos and Peter Caras – to defraud the citizens of the Village of Hempstead (the Village) and the VHHA by soliciting and accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for Bozier using his official position to ensure that the Board of Commissioners (the Board) accepted fraudulently submitted bids for VHHA construction projects. The VHHA is responsible for providing and maintaining safe and affordable low-income housing in the Village. As chairman, Bozier controlled the Board and could bypass HUD regulations for bidding and for awarding construction projects.