YONKERS, N.Y. — A transportation supervisor and a bus company owner have been accused of stealing about $280,000 from the city of Yonkers for school bus services that were never provided, authorities announced on Thursday.
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said that the alleged fraud occurred over a period of nearly two years. According to the charges, the bus company vendor submitted false invoices for bus services that had not actually been provided, and the Yonkers Board of Education's transportation supervisor knowingly approved the invoices for payment.
"The allegations outlined in the complaint are the essence of fraud, corruption and mismanagement,” DiFiore said. “These defendants, over an 18-month period, conspired to defraud the city of Yonkers Board of Education and, by extension, all its students by providing nonexistent services. How many music or art classes could have been maintained with that misappropriated money?"
William Ahern, owner of A Plus Transportation in Yonkers, and Anna Sollozzo, transportation supervisor for the Yonkers Board of Education, allegedly created a “phantom bus route.” They are accused of invoicing the board for bus pickups at the Nepperhan Community Center — when no buses were dispatched — between September 2012 and April 2014.
Meanwhile, authorities said that Ahern was secretly depositing money into Sollozzo's personal bank account, for a total of $107,250. A Plus Transportation had contracts for bus services with the city of Yonkers totaling about $2.8 million for the period from Sept. 24, 2012, through Feb. 7, 2014.
Also, Sollozzo allegedly neglected to remit a total of $282,398 in New York state income tax from March 2011 to April 2014.
The fraud came to light as the Yonkers inspector general was investigating an unrelated complaint.
Ahern and Sollozzo were arrested on Thursday.
Ahern is charged with grand larceny and rewarding official misconduct. Sollozzo faces charges of grand larceny, receiving reward for official misconduct and multiple counts of criminal tax fraud.
Ahern and Sollozzo each face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Their next court appearance is pending.