ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Spring Valley Trustee Vilair Fonvil has been found guilty of numerous corruption-related charges related to stealing from a summer camp program for children, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe.
Fonvil, 54, of 23 Devon Drive, West Orange, N.J., was found guilty Friday of four felonies including receiving a reward for official misconduct; corrupting the government; grand larceny as a crime of public corruption; and money laundering, Zugibe said.
“The corruption demonstrated by Village Trustee Fonvil is another sad example of the type of behavior that undermines our faith in government," said Zugibe. "Convictions like these send a loud and clear message that public officials who willfully defy the law will be fully investigated, prosecuted and punished for their actions. The people of Rockland County are fed up with public servants who use their positions for personal gain, rather than to provide the honest services the community expects.”
Fonvil, while serving on the Village of Spring Valley Board of Trustees, stole $11,000 from over $25,000 in financing the trustees approved at his request for the 2016 summer camp program. The Village Board of Trustees, at the urging of Fonvil, passed a June 2016 resolution authorizing the payment of $24,225 to Jermika Depas for the purpose of coordinating the transportation of Spring Valley children to summer camps in the Town of Ramapo, the DA's office said.
The contract, assembled by Fonvil and signed by Fonvil on behalf of the Village, called for Depas to hire six bus monitors to supervise the children. Fonvil and Depas hired only three monitors.
Fonvil was involved in the day-to-day operations of the program and solely responsible for paying the three monitors weekly. The monitors were paid in cash and were never issued W2 forms. Days into the camp program, Fonvil, and Depas ceased utilizing the bus company that was being paid directly by the Village to transport the children.
Fonvil proposed using buses owned by the Village of Spring Valley. At Fonvil’s request, on July 20, 2016, a Special Meeting was held and the Village Board passed a resolution to issue another check to Depas for an additional $3750, ostensibly for extra costs incurred due to this change. However, instead of incurring the cost of hiring a bus driver, Depas assigned one of the monitors to drive the village-owned bus.
During the final two weeks of the camp program, Depas, utilizing the Spring Valley funds, purchased three bank checks totaling $16,700. Two of the checks were issued in the names of two of the bus monitors and a third was issued in the name of an individual not associated with the program.
Within hours of their purchase, all three checks were cashed at the same bank at which they were purchased, $11,000 of this money was then given directly to Fonvil by the person who cashed the check. In one instance, Fonvil paid the individual $500 to cash the check and give him the balance of the funds.
Fonvile's co-defendant Jermika Depas, the camp program's coordinator, was acquitted.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20, 2018, and faces a maximum of 15 years in state prison.
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