United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
AUGUST 3, 2011 ELLEN DAVIS,
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that LAWRENCE PESCE, a
former construction manager for Touro College, was sentenced
today in Manhattan federal court to three years in prison for
defrauding Touro College out of more than $2 million through a
commercial kickback scheme. PESCE previously pled guilty to wire
fraud on October 12, 2010. United States District Judge BARBARA
S. JONES imposed today’s sentence.
U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “Lawrence Pesce was a
corrupt employee who deceived Touro College, stealing millions
from the very non-profit educational institution whose pocketbook
he was supposed to protect. He will now pay for his crimes with
According to the Information to which PESCE pled, other
documents previously filed in this case, and statements made in
In May 2008, Touro College sought competitive bids for
a construction project located at 230 West 125 Street in th
Manhattan (the “project”). PESCE was Touro College’s
construction manager for the project. Prior to bids being
received by the college, PESCE reached out to a developer in the
region (the “developer”), indicating he could ensure that the
developer’s company would get the project if the developer agreed
to pay him kickbacks. Ultimately, they arranged a scheme to
inflate the initial bid and subsequent charges to Touro College
by over $2 million.
After being awarded the contract, the developer was
paid approximately $12.4 million by Touro College over the course
of two years for work on the project. At least $1 million of
that sum was kicked back to PESCE.
* * *
In addition to the prison term, Judge JONES sentenced
PESCE, 46, of Bellmore, New York, to three years of supervised
release, and ordered him to pay $2.5 million in restitution to
Touro College. PESCE also agreed to forfeit $1 million and his
interest in certain real estate that he purchased with proceeds
from his fraud.
While imposing the sentence, Judge JONES observed that
PESCE’s crime was “brazen,” and an “incredible breach of trust to
a non-profit institution of learning.”
Mr. BHARARA praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation
and the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General for
their outstanding work in investigating this case. He also
thanked Touro College for its cooperation in this matter.
This case is being handled jointly by the Office’s
Complex Frauds and Organized Crimes Units. Assistant U.S.
Attorney LISA ZORNBERG is in charge of the prosecution.