The owner of a school bus transportation company in Rockland County has been accused by federal prosecutors of billing for bus maintenance that was never done, officials say.
Richard Brega of Brega Transportation Company was slapped with a five-count federal indictment Thursday. Authorities say that some school buses went for years without necessary maintenance.
"The defendants' alleged fraud and corruption not only betrayed the public trust but risked making school buses, including some used for disabled childred, less safe," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Brega pleaded not guilty in court. His attorney, Kerry Lawrence, said his client looks forward to defending himself and is "confident this will all work out in court."
A former Rockland County Board of Cooperative Educational Services employee has pleaded guilty as part of the conspiracy: prosecutors said Brega billed BOCES $86,000, and BOCES official William Popkave approved fraudulent invoices in return for $47,000 in free vehicle services.
Prosecutors believe the scheme could have been happening for seven years, from 2008 to 2015.
It's unclear how many BOCES buses went unrepaired.
The U.S. attorney's office says other administrators at Rockland County BOCES had no knowledge of the scheme.