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Former New Rochelle DPW Fleet Manager Richard Fevang Indicted on 66 Counts of Fraud

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Former New Rochelle DPW Fleet Manager Richard Fevang Indicted on 66 Counts of Fraud

June 28, 2011 - 17:15
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Fevang(WHITE PLAINS, NY) -- Former New Rochelle DPW Fleet Manager Richard Fevang was led away in handcuffs by Westchester County police officers after Judge Albert Lorenzo unsealed a 66 Count Grand Jury indictment against Fevang. As the indictment was unsealed, Fevang stood before Judge Lorenzo, head slightly bowed, his hands together in front of him, his suit jacket draped over the handcuffs secured to each wrist.

The indictment ends an investigation that began after allegations against Fevang were first published on Talk of the Sound in 2009. New Rochelle City Council Member Louis Trangucci played a critical role in advancing the investigation when he delivered boxes of DPW invoices to Assistant District Attorney Brian Conway Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Bureaus in early 2010. Conway was on hand as the indictment was unsealed. Assistant District Attorney Shara Abraham of the Investigations Division is working with Conway in prosecuting the case.

“Working in the public sector is a privilege. Over a protracted period of time, this defendant blatantly abused that privilege by engaging in actions solely for his own self interest,” said District Attorney Janet DiFiore after the defendant was arraigned. “The kind of self serving criminal behavior that this defendant displayed severely undermines the public’s confidence in government and obscures the hard work and dedication that most public employees exhibit over their careers.

Bail was set at $5,000 bond over $2,500 cash. His next court appearance will be on September 28, 2011. Fevang faces a maximum of seven years in state prison on the top counts of the indictment.

According to the indictment, over a six year period, Fevang prepared false competitive bid reports for bids that never occurred to create the appearance that the person or entity that got the contract was the lowest biderd and to insure the contract went to the person or entry he is acting in concert with in securing contracts with favored vendors. Fevang is charged with twenty two counts of Tampering with Public Records in the First Degree, class “D” Felonies, twenty two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree, class “A” Misdemeanors, twenty two counts of Official Misconduct, class “A” Misdemeanors.

For a copy of the indictment see the link below.

Fevang, under investigation by the Westchester County District Attorney's for 8 of the last 11 years, was hired by New Rochelle despite a criminal record and having served time in jail prior to his hiring by the City. According to sources familiar with his hiring in the 1990's, Fevang was not subject to a background check when hired. His job application form indicates he answered "no" to the question of whether he had been convicted of a crime. A copy of the employment application document obtained by Talk of the Sound under a Freedom of Information request shows the "no" answer was crossed out and the answer "yes" was checked. The handwriting appears to be different than the rest of the form suggesting the possibility of alteration.

City officials are going to have to explain why they either (a) hired a convicted criminal or (b) failed to conduct a background check during the hiring process. Further, why Fevang continued to have the authority necessary to continue his long-running series of frauds despite a five-year investigation by the DA into similar allegations going back to 2001. City officials will also have to explain how on 22 occasions, going back to 2005, Fevang was able to get false bid summaries approved, how the City Finance Department audits their bid process, how subsequent invoices were approved, how they were paid and why the City's independent auditor failed to identify even a single instance of fraud among the 22 examples cited in the Grand Jury indictment.

The City of New Rochelle's Independent Auditors, Bennett Kielson Storch DeSantis, a Division of O’Connor, Davies, Munns & Dobbins, LLP is a financial contributor to Mayor Noam Bramson, according to New York State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Disclosure Reports. The same firm serves as the Independent Auditor for the City School District of New Rochelle.

After Fevang resigned last week, City Manager Chuck Strome claimed that entire matter concerned "the actions of a single individual" and that the City of New Rochelle had "cooperated fully" with the DA. In light of information obtained by Talk of the Sound both statements are not likely to hold up to scrutiny. Further, each of the counts begins with the statement:

while aiding and abetting in concert with others knowing that he did not have the authority of anyone entitled to grant it and with intent to defraud, did knowingly remove, mutilate, destroy, conceal and make a false entry in and falsely alter any records or other written instruments filed with, deposited in, or otherwise constituting a record of a public office or public servant.

Talk of the Sound has identified at least five City employees who participated in Fevang's scheme. In at least two case, City officials actively discouraged employees providing information to the DA, while the investigation was ongoing.

PRESS STATEMENT FROM WESTCHESTER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY:

SIXTY SIX COUNT INDICTMENT UNSEALED AGAINST A FORMER NEW ROCHELLE DPW SUPERVISOR FOR TAMPERING WITH PUBLIC RECORDS AND OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28th, 2011
Contact: Lucian Chalfen

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced that Richard Fevang (DOB 04/12/46) of 2716 Schurz Avenue Bronx, New York, was arraigned today after the unsealing of a sixty six count indictment charging him with:

twenty two counts of Tampering with Public Records in the First Degree, class “D” Felonies,
twenty two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree, class “A” Misdemeanors,
twenty two counts of Official Misconduct, class “A” Misdemeanors,

relating to offenses committed at the City of New Rochelle Central Garage, located at 224 Main Street, between September 9, 2005 and December 30, 2010.

The defendant, the former Fleet Manager of the City’s Central Garage, was responsible for the maintenance and repair of City vehicles. He personally prepared and /or directed subordinates, to falsely prepare Competitive Bid Summary Reports, which are business records maintained by the City of New Rochelle, by adding fictitious information to the reports, effectively steering contracts to vendors of his choice.

The reports contain fictitious price quotes from the unselected vendors. Moreover, the unselected vendors reflected in the reports were either never contacted and never submitted price quotes or contacted but after the work was already completed.

To give the appearance of a legitimate bidding process, the defendant or his subordinates occasionally would, at the defendant’s direction, submit additional false documents such as faxed memoranda to unselected vendors, that were never truly faxed but prepared to suggest that a legitimate bidding process occurred.

Vendors, under the Competitive Bid Summary Reports, received the benefit of winning these “awards” without a legitimate bidding process.

The result was that the City of New Rochelle and its taxpayers were deprived of having an actual competitive bidding process take place on each of these instances to ensure that the lowest responsible bidder would be chosen.

The defendant, in his official capacity as Fleet Manager of the Central Garage, affixed his initials to the reports that were submitted to the City of New Rochelle for payment circumventing the competitive bidding process promulgated by the City of New Rochelle and constituted an unauthorized exercise of defendant’s official functions.

Officials from the City of New Rochelle cooperated with this investigation from the outset.

“Working in the public sector is a privilege. Over a protracted period of time, this defendant blatantly abused that privilege by engaging in actions solely for his own self interest,” said District Attorney Janet DiFiore after the defendant was arraigned. “The kind of self serving criminal behavior that this defendant displayed severely undermines the public’s confidence in government and obscures the hard work and dedication that most public employees exhibit over their careers.

Bail was set at $5,000 bond over $2,500 cash

His next court appearance will be on September 28, 2011.

The defendant faces a maximum of seven years in state prison on the top counts of the indictment.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Conway Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Shara Abraham of the Investigations Division are prosecuting the case.

UPDATE:

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: NY fleet manager accused of falsifying documents

Newsday: NY fleet manager accused of falsifying documents

Developing...

There are 10 Comments

Mr.Cox you and your site stayed on top of this story for a long time and you should be thanked by every tax paying resident in this city. Councilman Lou TRANGUCCI should also be thanked for going to the Da with this info. I find it odd though only one person can do all these things. It looks and sounds fishy to me.Someone in city hall better take charge because this ship is sinking fast.Mayor Bramson and the dems on council better stop giving away the tax dollars of this city. This is on your watch Mr. Mayor what are you going to do to make sure this does not happen again?Mr. Mayor you make deals on the backs of every tax payer in this city and we the people are sick and tired of it.Either change your ways or get out.There always seems that there is some kind of scandal going on in city hall.Thank god for COX and his site now we the people of this city can be told the truth of the going on's in city hall and the back door deals made every day by Bramson and crew.The party's over and your time is up.

Thank God this dirt bag got what is coming to him, now this should free up the DA to go after more dirt bags like him.

bramson must go.

As I understand it, Bramson and crew will hold a press conference to pat themselves on the back for cooperating with the DA and to introduce "safe guard" policies to prevent this behavior in the future. This is BS! Since his first fiasco involving theft of parts in 2001 Fevang has been allowed to wheel and deal without oversight. Someone must go....... Zulli, Rattner, Strome or all of the aforementioned.

I hope the US Attorney takes this case and picks up where DA DiFiore fell down. The DA has not charged anyone else in connection with Fevang while it is evident that Fevang could never have manipulated the system on this level without accomplices. Hopefully the US Attorney will be able to orchestrate an investigation that will prosecute those who acted " in concert with" Fevang.

If action were taken in 2001, New Rochelle would not find themselves in another embarrassing, black-eye, situation today. The only common denominator is Bramson (2001 as councilman and 2011 as mayor). If you want to be captain you must accept responsibility.

Bramson's policies? Bramson's policies allow corruption. Ask yourself how come Lou Trangucci and TOTS had expose this and no one in City Hall caught on. Same holds true with the CSC and domenic Procopio. He steals thousands in a tax exemption and no nothing about CSC law or the hiring of personnel and he is in charge of a Commission that screens people for employment. Who appoints him--Bramson. Time for change in City Hall.

We need to implement an Inspector General's Office for Westchester County and have it led by the New York State Attorney General's Office or the U.S. Attorney's Office. We cannot continue to let the Westchester County DA's Office sweep crime under the rug.

The reason why Fevang was arrested was because of you Mr. Cox. The constant reporting on this corruption kept it in the eye of the public and this time the Westchester County DA's Office could not sweep it away.

There are many corrupt employees and law enforcement officers who work in this county! We need to root these scum out of these jobs.

Most of these employees and law enforcement officers get these jobs through politics, not through hard work and education. Yes, there are good hard working employees on these jobs but thats a few.

The rest of these corrupt knuckleheads should pray to God that they were politically hooked up with a public sector job because they know they could never work an honest days work in the private sector!

It really is amazing how Strome and company seem always to fly under the radar when this type of stuff happens. The funny thing is its always happening on his watch so again its time to save face and keep all the good ole boys up in city hall together until the ship sinks altogether...

I have one question for DA DeFiore, Mayor Bramson and Manager Strome. Was a deal struck whereby Fevang was allowed to "resign" and collect his tax-payer paid pension while he shields the rest of the gang as the sole fall-guy?

First of all, thanks to Bob and Talk of the Sound for actually doing some investigating journalism. Without you and your sources, no-one would ever know about this and that thief Fevang would probably get away with robbing us all. To bad there isn't any pictures of his perp walk to show his family. Where was that nitwit Ned Rausch, or Aman Ali or the equally impotent staff over at AOL Patch? Seems odd that so called " journalists" had nothing to do with covering a story as serious as this one. Something that affects each and every taxpayer, suggests involvement of higher ups at 515 North ave, either through condoning, turning a blind eye or ignorance, none of which being acceptable by any measure, and Ned is worried about
domain names while Patch is turning out puff pieces about nothing at all. Hopefully this is just the begining of a long hard investigation into the corrupt ongoings that have been part of the fabric and culture of city hall. You cant possibly believe that something so ingrained in a system can continue for so long without anyone knowing about
it, can you? It boils down to ignorance or incompetence. There is no other explanation. Two fine reasons to "clean house" this election cycle. Get rid of the entrenched machine that allows trash like Favang, unsubstantiated IDA deals, improper political campaign contributions (like Bramsons Forest City money), John Gallagher and Vito Costa and more to flourish, all on the backs of the tax payer. Call 515 North Ave and just say "we're not going to take it anymore" see if we can light up the switchboard today. 654-2150

is fevangs boat still at boat yard?

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