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Former New York City Fire Department Supervising Inspector Sentenced For Participating In Bribery Scheme Involving Children’s Day Care Centers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CARLOS MONTOYA, a former New York City Fire Department Supervisor, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 30 months in prison for his role in a bribery scheme involving a ring of day care centers. MONTOYA pled guilty in February 2012 to receiving bribes in exchange for taking official action to benefit day care centers in Brooklyn, New York. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Gardephe.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “With today’s sentence, Carlos Montoya will be held to account for selling out the safety of hundreds of children in New York’s day care facilities by flouting the City’s fire regulations in exchange for bribes.”

According to the Complaint, the Information to which MONTOYA pled guilty, and statements made during court proceedings:

MONTOYA worked for the FDNY as a Fire Protection Inspector from 1993-2005, and thereafter as a Supervising Inspector in the FDNY Public Buildings Unit. As a Supervising Inspector, he oversaw the fire inspections of all City day care centers. In exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from day care center owners, MONTOYA ignored or minimized fire safety violations at day care centers, and provided fake documentation, without which, the day care centers could not provide certain services to infants. He also assisted day care center owners in fraudulently obtaining amended permanent licenses required by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”) that increased the maximum number of infants and children for which they could provide day care services.

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In addition to his prison term, Judge Gardephe sentenced MONTOYA, 54, of Brooklyn, New York to three years of supervised release, and imposed a $100 special assessment fee. MONTOYA agreed to forfeit $50,000 as part of his plea agreement.

MONTOYA’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 the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”). The investigation has resulted in the convictions of 14 defendants, including six City employees and eight day care owners. Of the convicted defendants, five City officials have been sentenced: Leonid Gutnik, a former Job Opportunity Specialist/Child Care Specialist for the New York City Human Resources Administration (“HRA”), 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; Mariya Rapoport, a former employee at HRA, received a sentence of three years of probation including six months of home confinement; and Carolyn Eason, a former DOHMH employee, received two years of probation. Four day care operators have 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.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of DOI.

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.

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