YONKERS, N.Y. -- Monitoring of school taxi and bus contracts was so lax that Yonkers was defrauded of nearly $160,000, according to the city’s inspector general, Brendan McGrath.
In a June 14 report to Mayor Mike Spano and education officials, McGrath said Yonkers Union Car Service, aka F&B Car Service, had been billing the school district for student-transportation services that “never occurred” from July 2009 to April 2014.
McGrath said the inspector general’s office alerted the Westchester County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau, which then launched a criminal investigation.
“The troubling aspects of the investigation center on a complete lack of oversight and a failure to implement the most basic accounting of District resources within the transportation department,” McGrath wrote in the 14-page report.
More than 10,000 “ride sheets” were submitted during the five- year period of the contract, McGrath said, “and it never occurred to the District that Yonkers Union virtually never reported an absence.”
According to McGrath’s report, the probe into Yonkers Union led to the “discovery of certain financial transactions” between Anna Sollozzo, the school district’s then-transportation supervisor, and William Ahern, the president and owner of A-Plus Bus Co.
In 2015, the report said, the district attorney charged Sollozzo with criminal tax fraud and receiving reward for official misconduct.
The district attorney also charged Ahern with receiving reward for official misconduct, McGrath said.
Both also were charged with grand larceny.
Sollozzo eventually pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal tax fraud. She was sentenced to two to six years in state prison, McGrath’s report said.
Ahern was indicted and arraigned this month, the report said.
Yonkers Union co-owner Bianca Rodriguez was charged with criminal tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing, the report said. Rodriguez refused a plea deal in 2015 and her case is pending in Westchester County Court, McGrath said.
McGrath’s report was the first peek behind the scenes of the school transportation scandal, according to a report by lohud.com.
A school district spokesperson told lohud.com multiple oversight procedures were instituted after the scandal broke.