White Plains — Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Christina Scaringi, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (“HUD OIG”), announced today that ANTHONY BOVE, the former Commissioner of the Board of Water Supply of the City of Mount Vernon (the “Water Department”), pled guilty to soliciting a $10,000 bribe from an employee of the Water Department, and with lying to federal law enforcement officers when BOVE was interviewed during the investigation. BOVE pled guilty to the Information today in White Plains federal court before U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti.
U.S. Attorney Bharara stated: “The people of Mount Vernon deserved better than Anthony Bove, who used his public position to solicit a bribe from his own employee. As the Commissioner of the Board of Water Supply, Bove was entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the people of Mount Vernon had a safe and clean water supply, not to find ways to line his own pockets through bribes. I want to thank the HUD OIG and the investigators and prosecutors in my office for making this important case.”
Special Agent in Charge Scaringi stated: “In the last number of years, we have seen an unfortunate increase in the failure of our public officials to exercise integrity in connection with their official positions, thus further eroding the public’s trust in them. Anthony Bove’s guilty plea today is proof of our continuing resolve to ferret out official misconduct and corruption. The HUD OIG thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their continuing partnership in helping to detect and prosecute corrupt conduct.”
According to the allegations in the Information and other documents in the public record:
ANTHONY BOVE was the Commissioner of the Water Department of the City of Mount Vernon (the “City”). The City annually receives in excess of $10,000 in federal funds from the United States government. The City’s Water Department is responsible for serving City residents by, among other things, monitoring and treating the City’s water supply, repairing water main leaks, and reading water meters and generating water bills. In accordance with the City Charter, the Commissioner of the Water Department is appointed by the City’s Mayor, serves at the Mayor’s pleasure, and reports directly to the Mayor as the head of one of the City’s departments.
In the spring of 2015, while serving as the Water Commissioner, BOVE solicited a $10,000 bribe from a Water Department employee (“the Employee”) in exchange for approving the Employee’s promotion within the Water Department. The Employee, who was serving in a provisional capacity as the bookkeeper of the Water Department, had passed a civil service bookkeeping examination in order to become eligible for a permanent bookkeeping position at the Water Department. After receiving the test results, the Employee completed the necessary form to apply for the permanent bookkeeping position, and submitted it to BOVE for his approval and signature, which was required for the promotion to occur.
BOVE did not approve the application; instead, on April 14, 2015, BOVE told the Employee to meet him at Memorial Field in Mount Vernon. At Memorial Field, BOVE conveyed to the Employee that he would not approve the Employee’s promotion unless he gave BOVE $10,000, and that he could give BOVE half ($5,000) up front and pay the balance later. BOVE said that he would accept the remaining payments on installment: “So give me like, fucking like 20 dollars every fucking paycheck or whatever, you know.”
Following the April 14 meeting, BOVE called the Employee on multiple occasions to ask whether and when the Employee would pay him. The Employee did not make any payments to BOVE and his application form seeking the permanent bookkeeping position remained unapproved.
On December 7, 2015, a Special Agent from HUD OIG and a Criminal Investigator from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York interviewed BOVE in connection with a federal investigation into whether BOVE had attempted to extort the Employee. During the interview, BOVE lied to the investigating agents, stating, in sum and substance, that he had never asked for money to approve a job promotion for anyone in his department.
BOVE, 48, of North Salem, New York, pled guilty to one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of making a false statement to federal law enforcement officers, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.
BOVE is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29, 2016.
Mr. Bharara praised HUD OIG and the Criminal Investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their outstanding work during this investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney George Turner is in charge of the prosecution.
In response to the news about the former Water Commissioner pleading guilty to bribery, Mayor Richard Thomas released the following statement on Anthony Bove,
“We are fighting a daily battle to clean up Mount Vernon, from partnering with stakeholders to tear down zombie structures to building new policies to move Mount Vernon into the 21st century. The news about Anthony Bove closes another sad chapter in our struggle to rise above poor choices made during past administrations, i.e. Memorial Field. We will continue to make progress on ethics and accountability.”