A Glen Cove man who worked as a contract manager for the Metro-North Railroad was sentenced Tuesday to 1 to 3 years in prison for taking kickbacks and other offenses related to the railroad's contracting process, officials said.
James Berlangero, 64, who earlier this year, pleaded guilty to multiple charges, was immediately taken into custody after sentencing by Manhattan State Supreme Court Judge Felicia Mennin, said a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Defense attorney John Maccarone of Glen Cove didn’t immediately return a telephone call for comment.
Berlangero had been working at the railroad's headquarters as a contract manager to ensure “the integrity of Metro-North’s contacts and free competition on contract solications,” officials said in a statement about the case. Instead, Berlangero, from 2015 to 2017, received kickbacks from WRS Environmental Services, Inc., of Yaphank, in exchange for helping it win contracts worth $4 million, prosecutors said in a statement.
Berlangero had pleaded guilty earlier in the case to one count of corrupting the government, bribe receiving and making agreements that had the effect of restraining trade, prosecutors said.
According to a statement by prosecutors and railroad officials, Berlangero gave WRS information about a competitor’s bid for work, some of which involved removal of Superstorm Sandy debris, so that WRS could submit a lower bid.
“There is zero tolerance at Metro-North for the misuse of public funds,” said Metro-North president and interim LIRR interim president Catherine Rinaldi in a statement. “The actions of this former employee to defraud Metro-North and abuse the contracting process for kickbacks and bribes were unlawful, and I am grateful to see justice served.”
In a statement, Bragg said that Michael Rodgers, whom he identified as owner of WRS, made a variety of checks and cash payments to Berlangero, including $32,000 to pay for his residential mortgage. Rodgers plead guilty in December 2021 to one count of bribery and other offenses and is awaiting sentencing, according to prosecutors. Rodgers, who prosecutors said as a condition of his plea had to sell WRS, is due back in court on Dec. 6, officials noted.
Joseph Campolo, an attorney for WRS, said in an email that charges against the company in the case were dismissed in late 2021. A certificate of disposition provided by Campolo noted that the prosecution of the firm was considered to have ended in its favor. Campolo added that anyone involved with the scheme is no longer employed by WRS.