Former Bronx Not-For-Profit Program DirectorSentenced In Manhattan Federal Court For Bribery
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SATNARINE SEEBACHAN, formerly a program director at Bronx Shepherds Restoration Corporation (“Bronx Shepherds”), a not-for-profit corporation in the Bronx, New York, was sentenced to six months of weekend imprisonment to be served during a five year term of probation after having been found guilty by a jury of soliciting and accepting a bribe in the form of labor and materials for the renovation of his residence from a contractor who received federally funded contracts from Bronx Shepherds. SEEBACHAN was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels, who also presided over the five-day jury trial.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, other proceedings in this case, and documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:
SEEBACHAN was employed as a program director by Bronx Shepherds, a not-for-profit corporation that provides housing restoration to low-income individuals in the Bronx, New York. As program director, SEEBACHAN was responsible for administering two federally funded home improvement programs, namely, the Weatherization Assistance Program (“Weatherization Program”) and the Home Program (“Home Program”) (collectively, the “Programs”).
The Weatherization Program is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Weatherization Program provides weatherization assistance, such as improved lighting and heating systems, window caulking, and wall and ceiling insulation, to buildings with low-income residents in order to make the buildings more energy efficient. The Home Program is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Home Program provides renovation assistance to low-income individuals who reside in small family homes, such as repairs to ceilings, bathrooms, kitchens, windows, and sidewalks. As a program director for Bronx Shepherds, SEEBACHAN was in charge of the bidding process to select the construction companies to perform the necessary work on the buildings, apartments, and houses that Bronx Shepherds had selected to participate in the Programs.
Toward the end of 2005, SEEBACHAN purchased a residence in Glen Cove, New York. In 2006, 2007, and again in 2010, at the direction of SEEBACHAN, a construction company that bid for and received contracts from Bronx Shepherds to perform renovation work under the Programs (the “Contractor”) supplied materials and labor for construction and renovation work performed at SEEBACHAN’s residence. Specifically, the Contractor paid for marble that was installed in SEEBACHAN’s residence and did extensive concrete beautification renovations to the driveway, front walkway, and back patio and pool area.
At the time the Contractor paid for the marble and performed the concrete work at SEEBACHAN’s residence, SEEBACHAN promised the Contractor that he would ensure that the Contractor received lucrative contracts to perform repairs on apartment buildings Bronx Shepherds owned and managed. The total dollar value of the labor and materials that SEEBACHAN obtained from the Contractor was more than $140,000. SEEBACHAN was found guilty of one count of bribery concerning an organization that receives federal program funds.
In addition to weekend imprisonment and probation, Judge Daniels also ordered SEEBACHAN, 52, of Glen Cove, New York, to perform 500 hours of community service, and pay a $10,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the New York State Inspector General’s Office.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Carrie H. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.