On February 17, in federal court in Brooklyn, Greek-American George Kalergios, the owner of several companies that operated in the New York City area, including Zeus Waste Management Inc., a carting business in Queens, pleaded guilty via videoconference before United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen to bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with a scheme to secure waste management contracts from a local college.
According to a statement released by the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, when sentenced, Kalergios, 57, faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment. In addition, Kalergios agreed to pay forfeiture in the amount of $110,955.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty plea.
“The defendant’s bribery scheme deprived a local college of the honest services of its contractors and employees,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that those who engage in criminal corruption to enrich themselves at the expense of institutions in our communities will be held accountable.” In the statement, DuCharme expressed his grateful appreciation to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and the FBI, Boston Field Office, for their assistance on the case.
“Instead of providing the best possible services to his clients with no strings attached, Kalergios participated in a quid-pro-quo arrangement that served to advance his selfish interests. Corrupt behavior has no place in the business of honest services, and today’s guilty plea highlights that basic truth,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
As set forth in public filings, in June 2018, Kalergios agreed to bribe the facilities director of a college located in New York City to grant Zeus Waste Management the exclusive right to remove non-hazardous waste from the College’s campus. Specifically, Kalergios agreed to pay the facilities director 10 percent of any payments that the College made to Zeus Waste Management under any contracts directed to the company. In July 2018, the facilities director awarded a three-year contract to Zeus Waste Management that gave it the exclusive right to remove non-hazardous waste from the College’s campus. Between July 2018 and March 2019, pursuant to their agreement, Kalergios made multiple cash payments to the facilities director totaling approximately $11,095.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Polemeni and Special Assistant United States Attorney Virginia Nguyen are in charge of the prosecution.