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Guilty Verdict in Chappaqua School District Kickback Scheme

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A Yonkers man who paid a Chappaqua School District employee more than $5,000 in bribes and kickbacks faces five to 15 years in state prison after being found guilty of two felony counts last week.

Ricardo Jimenez, 57, was convicted on Aug. 26 of second-degree bribery and second-degree rewarding official misconduct following a two-week trial, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah announced. Jimenez faces a sentence ranging from a conditional discharge to the maximum sentence.

Between November 2014 and August 2017, Jimenez paid a school district maintenance employee over $5,000 to ensure district-related maintenance projects were awarded to a company Jimenez owned, RJ Summit Services, Inc., and approve each invoice Jimenez sent to the district. When the district paid RJ Summit Services, Jimenez kicked back portions of the payment to the district employee in cash and checks made out from another company.

The district employee, Jorge Barreiros, pleaded guilty in December 2019 to second-degree corrupting the government and third-degree bribe receiving. His sentencing is still pending.

The district attorney’s office’s Investigations Division launched its inquiry in 2017 after being contacted by Chappaqua school officials and Johnson Controls, Inc. Jimenez was also an employee of Johnson Controls, Inc., a vendor to the district.

“Bribery and kickback schemes like this one take money out of the hands of hardworking public employees and everyday workers and this kind of corruption won’t be tolerated here in Westchester,” Rocah said in a statement. “I thank the Chappaqua Central School District and Johnson Controls, Inc. for alerting the district attorney’s office of this fraudulent activity so justice can be served.”

Jimenez is scheduled to be sentenced Nov 29. The case is before Judge David Zuckerman in Westchester County Court and is being prosecuted by Deputy Bureau Chief Brian Fitzgerald.

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