CEO Of NYC non-profit charged in bribery and kickbacks scheme involving publicly funded housing and social services


Date: March 24, 2021


Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Margaret Garnett, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation ("DOI"), announced today the arrest of Victor Rivera on charges of honest services fraud and money laundering. As alleged in an Information filed today in Manhattan federal court, Rivera, while leading a non-profit organization ("Organization-1") that operated soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and affordable-housing facilities in New York City, schemed to enrich himself through bribes and kickbacks from Organization-1's contractors. Rivera will be presented and arraigned later today before United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: "Many of the over 8.4 million residents of New York City rely on government-assisted non-profits to provide food, affordable housing, and other essential services for their well-being. As alleged in today's charges, by accepting bribes and kickbacks, Victor Rivera sought to leverage his position as the CEO of a non-profit into a very much for-profit situation for himself. The vast majority of organizations in New York City's non-profit networks honorably provide assistance to those in need, but when any individual selfishly exploits one of those organizations for their own personal gain, they will find themselves facing criminal charges for corruption."

DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said: "As CEO of a City-funded nonprofit, this defendant should have been serving the underprivileged, including the homeless; instead, according to the criminal information, he schemed to enrich himself and his relatives, taking bribes and kickbacks from those doing business with his organization. New York City provides billions of dollars to support nonprofits, many of which run organizations with integrity and provide valuable, essential services. But corruption at nonprofit social services contractors remains an investigative priority for DOI, and today's arrest should serve as notice to any individual who sees the City's coffers as a path to personal profit. DOI thanks the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York for its partnership and commitment to this important corruption investigation."

As alleged in the Information:

Rivera was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Organization-1, which annually spent millions of dollars in public funds on real estate, security, cleaning, construction, and food expenses, among other costs related to the housing and social services Organization-1 provided. From at least in or about 2013 until in or about 2020, Rivera engaged in a scheme to enrich himself and his relatives by soliciting and accepting bribes and kickbacks from contractors doing work related to or for Organization-1. The scheme yielded Rivera at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit gains. Rivera laundered some of the corrupt payments through intermediary entities he controlled, including through a purported consulting company nominally owned by one of Rivera's relatives.

Rivera of Stony Point, New York, is charged with one count of honest services wire fraud conspiracy, one count of honest services wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. Each count carries a maximum potential prison sentence of 20 years. The maximum potential penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only; any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of Special Agents of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and of DOI, and thanked the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation for its participation in the investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office's Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys David Abramowicz and Tara La Morte are in charge of the prosecution.

1The allegations contained in the Information are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.