Former Commissioner Of Mount Vernon Water Department Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison For Bribery
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ANTHONY BOVE, the former Commissioner of the Board of Water Supply of the City of Mount Vernon (the “Water Department”), was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for soliciting a $10,000 bribe from an employee of the Water Department, and lying to federal law enforcement officers when BOVE was interviewed during the investigation. BOVE pled guilty in White Plains federal court on March 22, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti, who imposed today’s sentence.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “While entrusted to provide clean and safe water for the people of Mount Vernon, Anthony Bove looked out only for himself, demanding a bribe from one of his own employees for a promotion to which the employee was already entitled. For this shameful corruption, Bove has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.”
According to the Information, statements made in open court, and other documents in the public record:
BOVE was the Commissioner of the Water Department. The City of Mount Vernon (the “City”) annually receives in excess of $10,000 in federal funds from the United States government. The Water Department is responsible for serving City residents by, among other things, monitoring and treating the City’s water supply, repairing water main leaks, and reading water meters and generating water bills. In accordance with the City Charter, the Commissioner of the Water Department is appointed by the City’s Mayor, serves at the Mayor’s pleasure, and reports directly to the Mayor as the head of one of the City’s departments.
In the spring of 2015, while serving as the Water Commissioner, BOVE solicited a $10,000 bribe from a Water Department employee (“the Employee”) in exchange for approving the Employee’s promotion within the Water Department. The Employee, who was serving in a provisional capacity as the bookkeeper of the Water Department, had passed a civil service bookkeeping examination in order to become eligible for a permanent bookkeeping position at the Water Department. After receiving the test results, the Employee completed the necessary form to apply for the permanent bookkeeping position, and submitted it to BOVE for his approval and signature, which was required for the promotion to occur.
BOVE did not approve the application; instead, on April 14, 2015, BOVE told the Employee to meet him at Memorial Field in Mount Vernon. At Memorial Field, BOVE conveyed to the Employee that he would not approve the Employee’s promotion unless the Employee gave BOVE $10,000, and that the Employee could give BOVE half ($5,000) up front and pay the balance later. BOVE said that he would accept the remaining payments on installment: “So give me like, fucking like 20 dollars every fucking paycheck or whatever, you know.”
Following the April 14 meeting, BOVE called the Employee on multiple occasions to ask whether and when the Employee would pay him. The Employee did not make any payments to BOVE and the Employee’s application form seeking the permanent bookkeeping position remained unapproved for months. Ultimately, in the fall of 2015, after Mount Vernon’s incumbent mayor was defeated in the primary for the mayoral election and prior to the change in administrations (which resulted in BOVE being replaced as Water Commissioner), BOVE signed the form approving the Employee’s promotion, without having obtained any payment from the Employee.
On December 7, 2015, a Special Agent from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (“HUD OIG”), and a Criminal Investigator from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York interviewed BOVE in connection with a federal investigation into whether BOVE had attempted to extort the Employee. During the interview, BOVE lied to the investigating agents, stating, in sum and substance, that he had never asked for money to approve a job promotion for anyone in his department.
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In sentencing BOVE, Judge Briccetti described BOVE’s conduct as “a disgrace.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Briccetti ordered BOVE to pay a $10,000 fine and a $200 special assessment fee. BOVE also was sentenced to two years of supervised release.
Mr. Bharara praised HUD OIG and the Criminal Investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their outstanding work during this investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney George Turner is in charge of the prosecution.