NEW YORK (AP) — Sentencing three men to prison for 20 years, a judge urged New York City officials to make substantial reforms Monday to prevent the kind of historic fraud over its project to modernize its payroll systems.
"It is a classic tale of greed and corruption," U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels said as he sentenced Mark Mazer, Gerard Denault and Dimitry Aronshtein following their November convictions.
Daniels ordered the men, previously subject to house detention, immediately taken into custody by U.S. marshals as dozens of family members and friends who had crowded a Manhattan courtroom for a lengthy sentencing hearing waved goodbye.
Daniels faulted the city for a fraud that Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Master said was among the biggest in New York City's history.
"The city did little to prevent their brazen scheme," the judge said. "The process is in need of substantial reform."
A jury convicted the men of key roles in the corruption of the city's CityTime information technology project. The project was meant to modernize the city's timekeeping and payroll systems across city agencies.
Besides serving prison terms, Mazer, 50, of Manhasset, Aronshtein, 53, of Oceanside and Denault, 52, of Danbury, Conn., were ordered to forfeit $47 million.
Defense lawyers promised to appeal.
Attorney Barry A. Bohrer, representing Denault, told the judge after the sentence was announced that it was "vastly disappointing to us."