Five peopleincluding a former Queens, New York, school superintendentpleaded guilty Oct. 18 to fraud charges in a bid-rigging, bribe, and kickback scheme concerning Queens school computer contracts worth millions of dollars, authorities said.
The five have agreed to pay nearly $5 million in restitution, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
From 1995 to 2000, the group allegedly worked together to submit false bids on behalf of a company one of them set up to win contracts to install computer labs for Community School District 29. The contracts were worth more than $6 million, and the group reportedly distributed about $3 million in kickbacks.
Four of the defendants were charged with first-degree fraud and other charges. Authorities identified them as Celestine Miller, 61, of Hempstead; Thomas Kontogiannis, 53, of Old Brookville; Ray Shain, 46, of Williston Park; and Kinson Tso, 39, of Dix Hills. Miller is a former superintendent of District 29.
The fifth defendant, William Harris, 84, is Miller’s husband. He admitted to taking illicit payments on his wife’s behalf and was charged with criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor, Brown said.
“The defendants’ fraudulent scheme victimized the children of Southeast Queens who lost critically-needed classroom resources as a result of the defendants’ greed and corruption,” Brown said.