For Immediate Release - August 25, 2009

Former Boston Housing Authority Employee Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Rigging the Bidding Process on Projects at the Boston Housing Authority

BOSTON - A former Boston Housing Authority (BHA) employee pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday in connection with rigging the bidding process for public projects handled by the Boston Housing Authority, and for also causing damage to a BHA apartment he was living in. Mark Collins, age 37, of Jamaica Plain, pled guilty to the charges of Procurement Fraud (10 counts), Conflict of Interest by a Municipal Employee, and Wanton Destruction of Property over $250. Immediately after the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge Charles Hely sentenced Collins to serve one year in the House of Correction on the charges of Procurement Fraud (10 counts), and one year in the House of Correction on the charge of Conflict of Interest by a Municipal Employee. The sentences will run concurrently. On the charge of Wanton Destruction of Property over $250, Judge Hely ordered Collins to serve two years of probation upon the completion of his House of Correction sentence. A restitution hearing to determine the amount of money owed to the BHA by Collins will be scheduled at a later date.

Two other co-defendants have been charged in connection with this case. Collins's wife and former Boston Housing Authority employee, Gisela Collins, age 38, also of Jamaica Plain, is charged with Conflict of Interest by a Municipal Employee. She is due in Suffolk Superior Court on September 15, 2009, for trial. Jayson Tracey, age 40, of Brockton, is charged with Procurement Fraud (7 counts), and is scheduled to appear in Suffolk Superior Court for a pre-trial hearing on September 8, 2009.

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.

The company, 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 allegedly 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 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. Authorities also allege that Collins's wife, Gisela, improperly used her position as a manager at the BHA to help her husband's company win a contract.

The BHA later fired Mark and Gisela Collins for the alleged misconduct. They were then ordered to move out of the BHA apartment in which they had been living. While leaving the property, Mark Collins recklessly caused over $250 in damage to the apartment.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against all three individuals on October 7, 2008. On October 15, 2008, Mark Collins was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court where he pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Yesterday, he entered a change of plea to guilty in Suffolk Superior Court and was sentenced.

The 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.