Saturday, July 10, 2010

Corruption Arrests In New York Reach All Time High, Break All Records

822 arrests made by the Department of Investigation of New York City in the last 12 months have broken a 137-year record. There is a 12% increase this year as compared to the last fiscal year. The corruption probe includes officials at the highest levels, which involved a sitting councilman’s indictment. In other probes it was found that many low-level employees engaged in various schemes. 13,500 complaints were recorded officially calling for around 2,200 investigations in the last year.

But as per the statement given by Rose Gill Hearn who is heading the department since 2002, it does not prove that the city government employees have gone more corrupt than in previous years. She stated that smarter ways of investigating leading to more depth caused more arrests. She thinks there is no increase in corruption. Out of around 7,000 arrests made in the last 20 years, more than 4,000 have happened during the tenure of Ms. Hearn.

The department focused more on publicly funded nonprofit organizations in recent years that lead to the exposure of insiders and public officials involved in frauds. For this purpose, a new unit was formed in 2007 within the department named “not-for-profit vendor fraud unit.” An interesting fraud case that was cracked in February this year was that of Councilman Larry Seabrook. He was charged with passing on huge amount of taxpayer funds to his relatives by irregular means. In December 2009, former Councilman Miguel Martinez was booked on federal corruption charges amounting to around USD 100,000.

Whatever is the real cause, in my opinion, if corruption has not increased and the increase in arrests is merely based on improved investigation procedures, it indicates that for the first time in New York, the department has learned better ways to curb corruption. And so far in the last 137 years it was just favoring the corruption to go on and grow!

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