A former Spring Valley building inspector faces up to four years in prison after being found guilty by a jury of issuing false certificates and a host of other charges.
Walter Booker, 57, of Spring Valley, was found guilty Tuesday in connection with a scheme that allowed another person to operate a daycare business in a dwelling that was not large enough while serving as the Chief Building Inspector for the village of Spring Valley, said the Rockland County District Attorney's Office.
Booker was convicted of backdating a certificate of occupancy which contained a false statement and doing so with an intent to defraud other governmental agencies, the DA's Office said.
Specifically, he was convicted of issuing a certificate of occupancy which falsely stated that 9 Zeissner Lane, Spring Valley, was a two-family dwelling in September 2011, when in fact on that date it was a single-family dwelling, the DA's Office said.
He also issued the certificate in May 2012 but back-dated the certificate by almost eight months to September 2011. This was significant because the homeowner, Jacob Goldman, was required by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to have a two-family in order to operate two lucrative daycare centers out of his home, the DA's Office said
“There's little doubt that the defendant's deliberate actions jeopardized public safety," District Attorney Kevin Gilleece said. "By making false statements, he violated his oath as a village official and violated the trust of the community. Public officials, whether elected, appointed or employed, have a duty to maintain honest and faithful service to the people they represent.”
Booker was also convicted of official misconduct as a result of a letter he wrote in May 2014 falsely stating that Jacob Goldman could lawfully operate a home-based occupation out of his home, contrary to the Spring Valley Village code. This letter was submitted by Goldman to the Ramapo Tax Assessor in an attempt to obtain a tax exemption.
Booker is scheduled to be sentenced on May 14.
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