Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that LEROY GIBBS was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon to 33 months in prison, and JULIO FIGUEROA was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote to 15 months in prison, for accepting bribes in exchange for awarding no-bid contracts at the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) facilities where they worked. GIBBS also obstructed justice in the weeks before his sentencing. GIBBS and FIGUEROA each previously pled guilty to one count of solicitation and receipt of a bribe.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Leroy Gibbs and Julio Figueroa betrayed the trust of NYCHA and harmed the residents of Douglass Houses and Ft. Independence Houses, taxpayers, and the contractors who were forced to pay them bribes in order to receive work – all so that they could line their pockets. By accepting bribes, they put greed above their duty to the public.”
According to the Complaints, Informations, and statements made in court proceedings and filings:
In February 2020, GIBBS, who was then employed as the Resident Buildings Superintendent at Douglass Houses in New York, New York, solicited and accepted approximately $2,000 in bribes from a confidential informant (the “CI”) in exchange for awarding no-bid contracts to the CI worth a total of approximately $9,950 from NYCHA for work at that NYCHA facility.
These were not the only bribes GIBBS solicited and received; between at least 2019 and 2022, GIBBS demanded bribes from numerous other contractors who sought to do work for NYCHA at Douglass Houses. For example, in one text message exchange in February 2020, GIBBS wrote to a contractor, “so there isn’t anything confusion like before. What is my $ from this? I have to ask because you guys were trying to be funny last time.” The contractor replied, “Good evening sir[,] 50k yours 50k us.” If contractors were too explicit about the bribery scheme in their messages to GIBBS, he admonished them; for example, when a contractor asked GIBBS, “Did [my associate] gave you 4k last week?”, GIBBS replied, “Don’t ever text something like that. Ever are you crazy.” GIBBS also referred to his practice of receiving a $1,000 bribe for each awarded job as his “side hustle,” and wrote that he had previously “put hands on” a contractor who had threatened to report his corruption.
In January 2023, just weeks before he was due to be sentenced, GIBBS took several steps to obstruct justice, including by deleting text messages and obtaining a new phone number to communicate with a co-conspirator.
Between July 2021 and August 2022, FIGUEROA, who was then employed as the Assistant Resident Buildings Superintendent at the Ft. Independence St.-Heath Ave. Houses in the Bronx, New York, solicited and accepted approximately $6,000 in bribes from the CI in exchange for awarding no-bid contracts to the CI worth a total of approximately $46,622 from NYCHA for work at that NYCHA facility. FIGUEROA continued to solicit bribes even after learning about the arrests of nine NYCHA contractors in September 2021 for paying bribes, telling the CI that he hoped he would not be the subject of an undercover investigation and that he would probably only deal with the CI from then on because the news of the arrests scared him.
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In addition to his prison sentence, GIBBS, 58, of Bay Shore, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release, including 120 hours of community service per year, and was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine, forfeit $2,000, and pay $2,000 in restitution.
In addition to his prison sentence, FIGUEROA, 45, of the Bronx, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $6,000 and pay $6,000 in restitution.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Department of Investigation, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General, and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Catherine Ghosh and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.