Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the sentencing of HERMAN EPSTEIN, 37, to 3-to-6 years in state prison for bribing a New York City Department of Buildings (“DOB”) employee to remove stop work orders, complaints, and violations associated with properties owned by or affiliated with the defendant. On February 7, 2017, the defendant was convicted by a New York State Supreme Court jury of the sole count in the indictment against him, Bribery in the Third Degree.
“Herman Epstein is a serial briber who has shown time and again that nothing—including criminal convictions—will stop him from cutting corners to make a profit,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case and previous ones, he did not hesitate to pay for favors, ignore safety regulations, flout the law with seeming impunity, and even use aliases in an attempt to disguise his dishonest conduct. The construction industry in New York City is experiencing a historic boom, with construction spending projected to top $42 billion this year. This unprecedented demand comes with enormous economic incentives to build quickly, which unfortunately, can invite corruption. ‘Pay-to-play’ culture within government agencies not only compromises the integrity of these important institutions, but endangers our entire city by allowing potentially unsafe buildings to secure rubber-stamp inspections.”
“I thank my Office’s Rackets Bureau and our partners for their assistance putting an end to this widespread corruption. We will continue to collaborate to ensure the integrity of New York City agencies and fair competition in our housing and real estate development markets.”
New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters said, “This investigation demonstrates the undeniable link between corruption and public safety. With just a bribe to a DOB inspector, this property owner had building code violations erased from the system, potentially endangering the safety of New Yorkers and compromising the integrity of the construction taking place. DOI and our partners, like the Manhattan District Attorney, remain committed to pursuing those who cut corners and engage in criminal conduct in the City’s construction industry.”