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Spring Valley Trustee Vilair Fonvil Busted On Corruption Charge

Vilair Fonvil , 54
Vilair Fonvil , 54 Photo Credit: Facebook

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. --  Village of Spring Valley Board of Trustees Vilair Fonvil was arrested Tuesday as an alleged co-conspirator in a sweeping corruption indictment involving the transportation of local children to summer camp.

Fonvil, 54,  of 23 Devon Drive, West Orange, N.J., was charged with four felonies including receiving a reward for official misconduct; corrupting the government; grand larceny as a crime of public corruption; and money laundering, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe. 

“Once again, we see a combination of hubris and greed corrupt a local official in Spring Valley,” said Zugibe. “Holding any elected office, especially one responsible for ensuring the safety of children is a sacred trust. To use that position to line one’s pockets is an affront to democratic government and violates our most basic obligation to those we serve.”

Also charged in the scheme was Jermika Depas, 31, of 25 South Madison Ave., Spring Valley, Zugibe said.

Zugibe said that, according to the charges, the Village Board of Trustees, at the urging of Fonvil, passed a June 2016 resolution authorizing the payment of $24,225 to Depas for the purpose of coordinating the transportation of Spring Valley children to summer camps in the Town of Ramapo.

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.

Instead, the two men hired only three monitors who were paid in cash and never issued W2 forms, Zugibe said.

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, the Village Board passed a resolution to issue another check to Depas for an additional $3,750, for extra costs incurred due to this change. However, instead of incurring the cost of hiring a bus driver, Depas allegedly assigned one of the monitors to drive the village-owned bus.

In addition, during the final two weeks of the camp program, Depas purchased three bank checks totaling $16,700 using Spring Valley funds. 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, Zugibe said.

After the checks were cashed, the indictment alleges that over $10,000 of the money was then given directly to Fonvil by the person whom cashed the check. In one instance, it is alleged Fonvil paid the individual $500 to cash the check and give him the balance of the funds.

Fonvil and Depas were both arraigned and are due back in court on June 27.

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