WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – The corrupt executive director of the Mount Vernon Department of Planning and Urban Renewal diverted more than $2 million in state and federal money to a company run by her lover, a federal jury decided on Tuesday. Constance Post sent the money for computer services to co-defendant Wayne Charles, though he had “no computer expertise, no employees, and no ability to perform under the contract,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Federal prosecutors said in a press release: “Post and Charles, who had a romantic relationship, arranged to steer a computer services contract to a company secretly owned by Charles. 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. Post hired and directed people to work for Charles’ company, which enriched Charles but ultimately cost the City more than twice what it would have paid if the employees had worked directly for the City. Post also disregarded the monetary restrictions placed upon her by the Mount Vernon board that approved the computer services contract and steered hundreds of thousands of dollars beyond her authorization to Charles.
“Separately, in connection with a $500,000 loan awarded by the City to Charles to renovate property on Third Street, Charles, with the approval of Post, falsely stated that he had not used any other names, and falsely certified that he had no other business with the Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency. In fact, Charles used numerous false names with the approval and assistance of Post in order to conceal his involvement in various matters in the City. Then, after renovations were complete at the Third Street property, another lender, in accordance with the terms of the City’s loan, repaid $250,000 of the loan, leaving an unpaid balance of $250,000. Post buried the unpaid balance on Mount Vernon’s books via a series of complicated financial transactions, ensuring that Charles was not required to repay the loan to Mount Vernon. Years later, in 2005, when federal investigators were examining the Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency’s financial records, Post retroactively recorded the unpaid balance of the Charles loan on the books of the Urban Renewal Agency. Shortly thereafter, Charles made a few payments on the loan, which otherwise remains unpaid. Post also received $30,000 from Charles and did not file the financial disclosure forms required by local law for her position.
“Post and Charles were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of mail fraud. Charles was also convicted of making false statements to federal agents who interviewed him in 2006.”
Post, of Mt. Vernon, faces up to 40 years in prison at her July 23 sentencing, and Charles, of New York City, faces up to 45 years.