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Opening arguments for Spring Valley Trustee Vilair Fonvil corruption trial on the Rockland County Courthouse. Ricky Flores/lohud

NEW CITY – Spring Valley Trustee Vilair Fonvil denied stealing cash from a summer time camp program when testifying throughout his public corruption trial on Thursday.

Fonvil, fifty four, a trustee since December 2013, gave his rationalization for a collection of cashed checks, and the way the summer time program was run regardless of logistical issues underneath questioning from his lawyer, Kevin Dunlap.

Fonvil advised the decide he lives off his authorities wage of $25,000 a yr whereas his spouse is paid $one hundred fifteen,000 yearly as a nurse at a New York Metropolis hospital. They’ve one youngster. Fonvil stated he does not have a checking account in his identify as a result of an lawyer from a former case has a judgment garnishing his wages for what began as an $eighty,000 authorized invoice.

He defined to County Courtroom Decide Kevin Russo that folks concerned with the summer time program cashed checks and gave him cash to repay him for loans or fronting their salaries. He stated this system coordinator, co-defendant Jermika Depas, refused to pay individuals until they signed W-2 varieties, so he fronted their salaries. He additionally lent Depas and one other village worker cash to pay their lease.

The felony costs towards Fonvil and Depas embrace third-diploma grand larceny as a criminal offense of public corruption, third-diploma corrupting the federal government, and cash laundering. Fonvil faces a further cost of receiving reward for official misconduct as a public official.

Depas and Fonvil waived their proper to a jury trial. Russo has denied a protection request to dismiss the legal fees.

Prosecutor RIchard Kennison Moran argued Fonvil and Depas created a $eight,000 slush fund through the use of village vans somewhat than a bus firm to drive the youngsters to camp and employed two bus screens when six have been funded by the village.

Moran has advised the decide that three individuals cashed checks for Fonvil and Depas, ostensibly from the $24,225 allocation from the Board of Trustees. Fonvil later received a further $three,000 for the summer time camp program.

Moran, an government assistant district lawyer overseeing the anti-corruption unit with the FBI, advised Decide Russo that the examine-cashing enabled a cash-laundering operation by Fonvil to pocket an estimated $eleven,000 he acquired from the Board of Trustees to bus village youngsters to summer time camps. Depas was employed to run the operation.

Fonvil informed the decide on Thursday that six screens was an arbitrary quantity relying on the necessity and variety of youngsters. He stated the camp missed out on the bus firm from delays in getting the cash and the…