A Rockville Centre man was among five former National Grid employees who allegedly accepted bribes and kickbacks from companies that received millions of dollars in contracts from National Grid.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn on June 15, Jevan Seepaul, 36, of Rockville Centre, is among those being charged for allegedly accepting cash, international travel and a recreational vehicle from the companies. The others who were charged were Devraj Balbir, 33, of North Bellmore; Ricardo Garcia, 48, of Stroudsburg, Pa.; Patrick McCrann, 56, of Selden, and Richard Zavada, 65, of Hicksville, Seepaul worked at National Grid as a facilities manager between 2014 and 2017.
“As alleged, the defendants made corrupt demands for bribes and kickbacks to line their own pockets and upgrade their lifestyles, while putting the contractors at risk of losing business if they did not comply,” Mark J. Lesko, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said, according to a news release. “This office is committed to protecting the integrity of the bidding process and ensuring that businesses compete on a level, honest playing field.”
National Grid was not named in the complaint, but all five men worked there. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and federal prosecutors have alleged that they solicited and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gifts, services and more between 2013 and 2020 from an unnamed contractor and affiliated companies to steer contracts to Long Island contractors.
“We are aware of the announcement by the governor’s office,” National Grid spokeswoman Karen Young said in a statement. “National Grid has fully cooperated with and supported the U.S. attorney’s office throughout its investigation. We are conducting a thorough internal investigation and will be working with our regulator, the NYS Public Service Commission, to enhance our existing controls and to implement additional controls and recommendations where appropriate to help prevent a similar situation in the future. National Grid is committed to the highest ethical standards for our company and our employees. The alleged misconduct is unacceptable, we have zero tolerance for it.”
Jeffrey Lichtman, an attorney for Seepaul, did not return a call requesting comment.
According to the complaint, three of the men charged had the power to approve no-bid contracts valued at less than $50,000, and the ability to influence competitive bids for more expensive projects, including a $50 million contract.
In addition to tens of thousands of dollars in cash payments, the alleged bribes and kickbacks included “more than one” recreational vehicle, hotel stays and international travel, home renovations and landscaping, as well as college tuition for one employee’s relative, according to the complaint.
All of the men surrendered on June 17, and were released on bond after initial appearances in federal court in Brooklyn.
National Grid operates the natural gas distribution infrastructure and owns and operates the largest power plants on Long Island, including those in Island Park, Northport and Port Jefferson. The company also operates electric utilities throughout the Northeast.