A federal judge gave a former public works supervisor at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point a “break” Friday, sentencing him to 9 months in prison for taking bribes in a bid-rigging scheme.
Frank DeCarlo, 67, of Franklin Square, faced up to 37 months behind bars, but U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt in Central Islip decided to show some leniency.
“I am going to give you a break,” the judge said.
Spatt said he took into account DeCarlo’s failing health, his service in Vietnam, and his repayment of $48,000 — the amount authorities said DeCarlo got in kickbacks for steering government contracts to the people who paid him.
The judge, however, rejected the defense lawyers’ request for home confinement, saying DeCarlo cheated and defrauded the government for 13 1/2 years, from January 2003 to November 2016, and for that he must spend some time behind bars.
DeCarlo was arrested Nov. 3, 2016 after one or more contractors had been indicted and were cooperating with federal prosecutors. He pleaded guilty on April 20 to receiving a bribe as a public official.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Burton Ryan said then that DeCarlo solicited and submitted phony bids on contracts he oversaw and steered the work to contractors who paid him cash bribes.
On Friday, Ryan told the judge that authorities were unable to determine the full loss caused by DeCarlo’s fraud.
Before he was sentenced, DeCarlo asked the judge for leniency.
As his wife, children and other family members looked on, DeCarlo apologized to them and to the military academy, saying he was ashamed of his conduct.
“I had made a terrible mistake for which I am very sorry,” DeCarlo said.
One of DeCarlo’s attorneys, Brian Griffin of Garden City, also asked the court to show compassion and consider the totality of DeCarlo’s life.
DeCarlo is a husband, father and grandfather, who served two tours in Vietnam, Griffin said. In the days following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Griffin said DeCarlo volunteered at Ground Zero to retrieve bodies, the job he had in Vietnam.
“That’s the measure of Frank DeCarlo,” Griffin said.
DeCarlo was diagnosed with early onset of dementia and in June suffered a heart attack, Griffin said. Prison, he said, may be detrimental to DeCarlo’s health.
Spatt told DeCarlo to surrender to federal authorities on Jan. 29 to begin serving his sentence. The judge also ordered three years’ post-release supervision.
In October, former academy planner-estimator John McCormick was sentenced to three years in prison for taking bribes in connection with the scheme.