| NEW YORK, June 19
NEW YORK, June 19 Three women pleaded guilty on
Wednesday to criminal charges arising out of what prosecutors
say was a corrupt New York City payroll project that cost the
city more than $600 million.
The three are related to Mark Mazer, a former city
consultant who prosecutors say played a central role in the
scheme, which involved more than $40 million in kickbacks.
The defendants who pleaded guilty include Svetlana Mazer,
Mazer's wife; Larisa Medzon, his mother; and Anna Makovetskaya,
The trio also agreed to forfeit $31 million in cash and
property, prosecutor Howard Master said at a hearing in U.S.
District Court in New York.
"Through lies and subversion, each of these three defendants
served as highly paid enablers of an epic fraud against the City
of New York," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a
The CityTime payroll project, initiated in a bid to
modernize New York City's payroll system, was originally
budgeted to cost just $63 million. Instead, costs grew to more
than $600 million due to the massive kickback scheme,
Much of that money has been recovered after SAIC Inc
, the primary contractor on the project, agreed in March
2012 to forfeit more than $500 million.
Mark Mazer, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled to go
on trial September 30 with two other defendants. Two other
defendants have pleaded guilty, and another two are considered
fugitives and remain at large.
The three who pleaded guilty Wednesday had previously been
charged with a count of money laundering conspiracy in
connection with helping Mark Mazer conceal $25 million in
kickbacks he received in connection with the CityTime payroll
Under plea agreements made public Wednesday, the trio
instead pleaded guilty to a variety of new charges.
Medzon, 68, admitted that from June 2006 to June 2010
withdrawing $200,000 stemming from the CityTime project in $500
or less increments. Makovetskaya, 42, admitted to making false
statements to a bank.
Mazer, 47, pleaded guilty to a charge that she obstructed
justice by deliberately not disclosing her interest in the shell
companies in response to a city ethic questionnaire in an
attempt to impute a federal grand jury investigating the
"Each of the defendants has accepted responsibility for
their limited roles," Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Medzon,
said after proceedings.
Despite so many members of his family pleading guilty, Mark
Mazer is not in plea talks and continues to plan to fight the
charges, said Gerald Shargel, his lawyer.
"The guilty pleas have no impact whatsoever on our case,"
Shargel said. "Our position has been and remains the City of New
York was not defrauded. The City of New York got exactly what it