A four-count superseding indictment was unsealed on Thursday,November 10, charging Cornell Bozier with one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and three substantive counts of federal program bribery. From April 2011 to April 2013, Bozier served as the Chairman of Commissioners at the Village of Hempstead Housing Authority (VHHA).
The VHHA is responsible for providing and maintaining safe and affordable housing for low income individuals living in the Village of Hempstead. According to the VHHA’s procurement policy, when large and costly construction projects are required at one of the various properties maintained by the VHHA, a public request for bids from independent and private contractors must be published to ensure that the Board awards the contract to the most qualified lowest bidder.
Instead, as alleged in the superseding indictment, Bozier used his position as the Board Chair of the VHHA Board to recruit and direct co-conspirators to submit fraudulently inflated construction bids for repair projects on VHHA properties, bypass the required procurement process, and ensure that the construction contracts were awarded to companies owned or controlled by co-conspirators. Bozier directed the hiring of additional co-conspirators for positions within the VHHA to help facilitate the board’s acceptance of fraudulent bids and exerted improper influence and pressure on those Board members to vote in favor of the grossly inflated bids submitted by Bozier’s co-conspirators. In exchange for these official actions, Bozier solicited and accepted numerous kickbacks during the course of the conspiracy totaling approximately $100,000.
In one case detailed in the superseding indictment,Bozier secured the awarding of a contract to replace the roof of a building operated by the VHHA for a construction company controlled by a co-conspirator. Pursuant to the fraudulent bid, the VHHA paid approximately $250,000 for the project that a co-conspirator paid a sub-contractor $23,00 to complete. More than$200,000 in proceeds from the fraudulently inflated contract were distributed between Bozier and several co-conspirators.
To date, the investigation has identified more than $500,000 that was allegedly stolen from the VHHA as a result of the charged conspiracy.
The five co-conspirators charged in the underlying indictment have previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence.
If convicted, Bozier faces a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years for the conspiracy to commit honest services fraud charge and up to 10 years for each of the federal program bribery charges. The charges in the superseding indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.