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A contractor for the city Department of Education was busted for allegedly scamming the city for more than $1 million with massive overcharges — including billing the city $572 for circuit breakers that cost a measly 18 bucks.
Derval (Eduardo) Lazzari, 54, also had his companies charge the city $157.50 a pop for over 8,000 non-existent “carbon dioxide” tests on refrigerators, federal prosecutors said.
The Queens man “cheated the New York City Department of Education and the children it educates by submitting fraudulent invoices for repairs to New York City schools,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
The criminal complaint said Lazzari had been running the scam since 2006, when his company, Acme American Repairs, was awarded a contract to repair cafeteria equipment in city schools.
“Beginning shortly after the 2006 contract went into effect, Lazzari instructed the billing clerk ‘to bill as close to $1,000 on ever work ticket as possible without going over,’” regardless of what work — if any — was done, the complaint says.
The contract eventually paid the company $22 million, and it was awarded a second deal in 2010, court papers say.
The big bills caught the eye of the Special Commission of Investigation for city schools, which discovered the rampant overbilling, court papers say.
The agency found “Acme repeatedly billed the DOE $572.05 for a circuit breaker estimated to cost $18,” and “repeatedly billed the DOE between $200 and $300 for electrical outlets estimated to cost between $2 and $22,” the complaint says.
The company also billed “for parts or services that were not installed and/or inapplicable to the type of repair and/or service work completed.”