The program lasted from 2013 to 2020, authorities said, as Mr. Rivera became a major player in the city’s enormous social safety net. In public, he frequently invoked a compelling personal story: He said he grew up poor in the South Bronx, even became homeless for a time, and went to jail for possession of drug before changing his life.
He founded the Bronx Parent Housing Network in 2000 on a shoestring budget with members of his church.
But as the city money flowed in, Mr. Rivera’s personal fortune also increased, according to the Times investigation. His salary rose to $306,000 in 2019, and the organization also rented him a Mercedes-Benz with a personalized license plate promoting his charity: BPHN ORG.
He mixed the finances of the nonprofit with for-profit housing companies he owned, offering lucrative contracts to friends and associates and providing jobs for several members of his family, the report revealed. investigation.
“Victor Rivera sought to leverage his position as CEO of a non-profit organization in a very lucrative situation for himself,” Audrey Strauss, then a US attorney in Manhattan, said when the charges were announced for the first time.
A representative for the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Authorities have not said which contractors paid Mr. Rivera, exactly how much money he raised or how he laundered the money. But The Times had reported that Mr Rivera started a for-profit business in 2011, Community Outreach Consulting Firm, which provided housing for people living with HIV and AIDS. Former Bronx Parent Housing Network employees told The Times that the company shared staff and resources with the nonprofit group. When Mr. Rivera left the consultancy in 2018, his wife, who also worked at the company, took over.
As homelessness has soared in New York in recent years, the city has contracted dozens of nonprofits to run shelters and provide services. Last year alone, the city awarded $2.6 billion to these groups. But officials have been reluctant to scrutinize nonprofit groups’ finances or end contracts because the city is so reliant on the organizations.