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Former Rockland BOCES Official Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Theft, Bribery

United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announced Thursday that a former BOCES employee had pled guilty to taking part in a scheme to defraud the agency.
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announced Thursday that a former BOCES employee had pled guilty to taking part in a scheme to defraud the agency. Photo Credit: U.S. Justice Department

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- A former Rockland County BOCES official plead guilty Thursday to numerous counts of fraud, theft, and bribery associated with a scheme to charge the county for school bus repairs that never happened, according to Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

William Popkave, 61, of Nanuet, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud, theft, bribery, and obstruction of justice, Bharara said.

Popkave, said Bharara, took part in a scheme with Richard Brega, 49, who owns Brega D.O.T. Maintenance Corp., to charge Rockland County school districts for school bus repairs and maintenance that were never actually performed, then tried to cover their tracks through fake invoices and deceptive money transactions," said Bharara.

Brega, who pled not guilty to the same charges, also has operated Transport of Rockland and Tappan ZEExpress bus lines since after being awarded a $70 million contract in 2011 by the Rockland Legislature.

According to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, Brega submitted false invoices for school bus maintenance that was never provided and then Popkave would knowingly approve the invoices for payment, even though the services were never provided.

To create the fraudulent invoices, and to obtain payment from Rockland BOCES for work that was never performed, Brega bribed Popkave with more than $47,000 of free personal vehicle repairs, the unsealed indictment said.

Both men face up to 80 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Maimin and Benjamin Allee are in charge of the prosecution.

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