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Two Found Guilty In White Plains Court Of Diverting $1.2M In Federal Funds

Two former Mount Vernon city officials were found guilty on federal fraud charges,
Two former Mount Vernon city officials were found guilty on federal fraud charges, Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- Constance Post, the former commissioner of the Mount Vernon Department of Planning and Community Development and executive director of the Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency (MVURA), and her associate, Wayne Charles, were found guilty Monday in federal court in White Plains on fraud charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The charges stemmed from their diversion of more than $1.2 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that were administered by the MVURA, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Post and Charles were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of mail fraud. Charles was also previously convicted at an earlier trial of making false statements to federal agents who interviewed him in 2006 about the case.

Post and Charles, who had a romantic relationship, arranged to steer a computer services contract to a company secretly owned by Charles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Using the name of a defunct computer services company that a friend had operated, Charles concealed from the City of Mount Vernon that he had no computer expertise, no employees and no ability to perform under the contract, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Post hired and directed people to work for Charles’s company between 1998 and 2002, and ultimately cost the city and HUD more than twice what it would have paid if the employees had worked directly for the city.

Separately, in connection with a $500,000 loan of HUD funds awarded by the MVURA Board to renovate property in Mount Vernon, Charles falsely stated that he had not used any other names, and falsely certified that he had no other business with the City of Mount Vernon and the MVURA, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. After property renovations were completed in 2003, another lender paid half of the loan, while Post hid the existence of the loan and the remaining unpaid balance owed by Charles.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 1, 2016. Post and Charles each face up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud charge. Charles also faces up to five years in prison on the false statement charge.

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