New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott announced September 24, 2013 that 51-year-old Satnarine Seebachan, of Glen Cove, New York, the former program director of Bronx Shepherds Restoration Corporation, was convicted of bribery after a trial before United States District Judge George B. Daniels.
Until last year, Seebachan was program director at Bronx Shepherds, a not-for-profit corporation established to provide housing and housing restoration in Bronx. Two of the programs – the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Home Program — were funded by the federal government through contracts with New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
At Bronx Shepherds, Seebachan was in charge of the bidding selection process, as well as choosing and paying construction companies that were to perform the necessary work on the buildings, apartments and houses funded by these programs.
According to the federal indictment and the evidence at trial, thousands of dollars in home improvements were made to Seebachan’s house by a contractor who received weatherization assistance and home renovation contracts for low and middle-income residents on federal assistance.
Seebachan solicited and accepted approximately over $100,000 worth of labor, materials and supplies from a contractor, with the intent to steer work from Bronx Shepherds to the contractor.
While the contractor was performing work and supplying materials to Seebachan’s home, he bid for and received numerous contracts with Bronx Shepherds under the federally funded programs paid through contracts with New York State.
Seebachan was found guilty of one count of bribery concerning an organization that received federal program funds. He is scheduled to return to court for a sentencing hearing on January 30, 2014, and faces a maximum of ten years in prison.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had said last year: “As alleged, Satnarine Seebachan used his power to control certain federal purse strings to buy for himself elaborate home renovations at significant discounts, and in some cases, for free. Abuse and exploitation of the federal contracting system will not be tolerated and those who engage in this conduct will be held to account.”