ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- The corruption trial for the Spring Valley trustee and village contractor accused of stealing government money, got underway Monday, with the two men waiving a jury trial.
Vilair Fonvil and Jermika Depas are charged with stealing money that was meant for busing local children to summer camp.
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, the criminal complaint 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.
After the checks were cashed, the indictment alleges that over $10,000 of the money was then given directly to Fonvil by the person who 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.
The judge presiding over the case will decide on a verdict.
If convicted, both face up to 10 years in prison.
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