Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Announces Guilty Pleas in Boston Housing Authority Case
Yesterday, co-defendant Jayson Tracey, age 40, of Brockton, pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges of Procurement Fraud (7 counts). Following his change of plea, Tracey was sentenced to 18 months probation. As a condition of his probation Tracey is barred from bidding on any BHA contracts.
A third co-defendant, Gisela Collins's husband and former Boston Housing Authority employee, Mark Collins, age 37, also of Jamaica Plain, pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court on August 24, 2009, to charges of Procurement Fraud (10 counts), Conflict of Interest by a Municipal Employee, and Wanton Destruction of Property over $250. Following his change of plea, Collins was sentenced to serve one year in the House of Correction and upon his release, to serve two years probation and pay restitution to the BHA.
After an initial investigation by the Inspector General's Office (IG), the Attorney General's Office began an investigation in March 2007, focusing on the owners of two flooring companies who fraudulently won contracts at the BHA from May 2006 through October 2007. Authorities allege the owners and their companies rigged the bidding process, and in some instances submitted fake bids, in order to win these contracts.
One of those companies, Flooring Designs, Inc., based in West Bridgewater and owned by Jayson Tracey, won 18 BHA contracts between May 2006 and March 2007. Investigators discovered that Tracey was able to win seven of these jobs by submitting fake bids in the name of a friend's business. Investigators discovered that because of this fraudulent scheme Tracey won contracts to install flooring in BHA buildings worth approximately $33,000.
After reviewing BHA documents, investigators also discovered that a company named Citypoint Construction Inc. (Citypoint), based in Jamaica Plain, was owned by BHA employee Mark Collins. Between July 2007 and October 2007, Citypoint submitted bids and won 15 flooring jobs at the BHA worth a total of over $47,000. Although Mark Collins participated as a BHA employee in soliciting bids from vendors and submitting bids to his BHA managers, he did not disclose his ownership interest in Citypoint. Investigators discovered that in addition to improperly using inside information to help Citypoint win flooring contracts, Collins created and submitted fake bids for several of these jobs. During this time period, Gisela Collins improperly used her position as a manager at the BHA to award a contract to her husband's company.
The BHA later fired Mark and Gisela Collins for their misconduct and ordered them to vacate the BHA apartment where they had been living.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against all three defendants on October 7, 2008. On October 22, 2008, Gisela Collins was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court at which time she pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Today, Collins entered a change of plea to guilty and was sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General David Waterfall, of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division, with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office. Investigator Dan O'Neil of the Inspector General's Office assisted with the investigation.