How an ex-con, and the son of a judge, scammed the city out of $220KMarch 11, 2019
This is how a convicted felon allegedly scammed the city out of $220,000.
City investigators last week crowed about their take-down of Renauld Gregg, a Staten Island felon accused of swindling the city by masquerading as a doctor and creating a bogus nonprofit that claimed to help the needy.
But the bust only came after Gregg was allegedly able to pull off his scam for years, as officials at every level — in the City Council, Mayor’s Office, Department of Health and the Department of Youth and Community Development — failed to conduct the most basic oversight.
Now all the parties are pointing fingers at each other over who’s to blame — and refusing to take any responsibility for being so easily duped.
Gregg — whose father is retired administrative law Judge Ronald Gregg — had done time in 2009 for impersonating a lawyer and scamming a pal out of $188,000.
Yet he was able to net nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the recent scheme by simply applying for city funds in 2016 and 2017 while falsely listing his co-conspirator, Cherynne Caro, as director of his so-called Second Chance Resources Group, which claimed it helped everyone from AIDS patients to needy kids, officials said.
He hung out with pols who had the power over grants to allegedly see his scam to fruition.
Photos on Gregg’s Facebook page include selfies with former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Bronx Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson.
He also set up a Web site claiming that the organization had a large community advisory board with numerous community partners, including Trader Joe’s.
Apparently all this was enough to fool politicians and officials that he and his business were legitimate: Everyone now admits that no city employee ever actually visited the non-existent charity while it was receiving taxpayer funds.
The failure began with the City Council.
Money for the alleged sham non-profit was allocated through the Staten Island and Bronx delegations and a citywide fund called Ending the Epidemic to combat HIV/AIDS, according to city records.
“He sent a letter or e-mail saying, ‘We’re a new group, we can do these services.’ We don’t have a lot of groups on Staten Island that do a lot of these services. There’s a lack of food pantries and HIV services,” said one Council source.
A spokesman for Council Speaker Corey Johnson protested that the council doesn’t actually write or administer contracts. The rep said it’s up to the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services to first clear the group and then for relevant city agencies to do vetting before releasing any funds.
“City agencies give out the money and usually do more extensive vetting, including on-site visits,” said Johnson’s spokesman, Juan Soto.
But a City Hall spokesman blamed the council, insisting that it is “responsible for vetting its awardees and approving them for funding.”
The rep, Jose Baynoa, said that because DYCD gave less than $20,000 to Second Chance over two years, it “by policy did not necessitate a site visit.”
He added that the DOH “does not always do on-site visits” for “small contracts.”
Council members in both delegations either did not respond to requests for comment or failed to accept any culpability when questioned by The Post.
Gregg was finally found out in 2018 when he was busted using fake badges that presented him as the “Commissioner” of the non-existent “New York City Community Affairs Bureau” and then the “New York State Community Affairs Bureau,” Councilman Ritchie Torres told The Post.
When The Post visited the purported offices of Second Chance Resources Group recently, it was nowhere to be found. The address was home to the law offices of Gregg’s dad, Ronald.
Gregg, who is out on $15,000 bail, was unable to be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Kevin Fasick
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