BK landlords charged in alleged bribery scheme: reports

Unidentified owners allegedly paid gas workers to illegally install meters

UPDATED, Jan. 12, 4:54 p.m.: More than 30 people, including Brooklyn landlords and employees of the utility company National Grid, were arrested Thursday in an alleged bribery scheme.

Building owners allegedly bribed gas workers to illegally install meters at their buildings so they could rent out their apartments more quickly, law enforcement sources told the New York Post and NBC New York.

Officials are accusing at least two National Grid employees of charging $1,000 extra for meter installations and then keeping the cash, according to court documents cited by NBC.

One worker is accused of doctoring the company database to make it seem as if the installations were legitimate. The workers allegedly provided phony stickers so the building owners wouldn’t have to wait around six months to rent out their apartments.

National Grid couldn’t be immediately reached to respond to NBC’s request for comment.

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The landlords have not yet been identified.

The Post reported that more than two dozen defendants surrendered themselves to police at Manhattan’s 1st precinct around 6 a.m. Thursday and were later led into a police van.

They were taken to Brooklyn Supreme Court to await arraignment later in the day on bribery and other related charges.

A spokesperson for National Grid said the company is cooperating with law enforcement officials, and has taken corrective measures where needed.

“National Grid is also conducting a thorough internal investigation and will be working hand-in-hand with its regulator, the NYS Public Service Commission, to take the steps necessary to enhance our existing controls and to implement any additional controls and recommendations required to prevent a similar situation from recurring in the future,” the spokesperson said. [NBC and NYP]Rich Bockmann

This post was updated to include a comment from National Grid.