The head of the carpentry shop at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point was arrested Thursday and charged with taking bribes from contractors over a 10-year period.
Frank DeCarlo, 66, of Franklin Square, took $47,230 from one unidentified contractor between October 2003 and March 2013, as noted in 108 ledger entries, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.
The papers also said that DeCarlo took a $200 cash bribe from another contractor who was acting on behalf of federal agents.
One contractor “indicated [it] was known in the construction trades that to get contracts at the USMMA [academy] it was necessary to pay ‘kickbacks’ to USMMA personnel,” the papers said.
Assistant United States Attorney Burton Ryan said in U.S. District Court in Central Islip that one or more contractors had been indicted and were cooperating with prosecutors. He declined to elaborate outside court, also declining to say whether $47,230 was the total extent of the alleged bribes.
DeCarlo was released from custody later in the day after posting a $50,000 bond.
He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
The academy could not be reached for comment late Thursday. A spokesman with the U.S. Department of Transportation office of Inspector-General said the agency assisted in the arrest but he directed all other inquiries to Eastern District court officials. The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration oversees the academy.
The carpentry shop is part of the academy’s public works department. Part of DeCarlo’s work duties were to get quotes from vendors who wanted to provide goods or services to the federally funded academy.
He was authorized to approve “micro-purchases” not to exceed $3,000, the court papers said, and demanded kickbacks “from a group of favored contractors.”.
Another academy employee who dealt with contractors, John McCormick, 60, of Atlantic Beach, was arrested in 2014 and charged with forcing contractors to pay kickbacks of up 10 percent to obtain work. That case is pending.
— With Candice Ferrette