Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SALIFOU CONDE was found guilty of bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud on June 29, 2021, in connection with his involvement in a years-long scheme to steal over $1.5 million from New York City’s Human Resources Administration (“HRA”), following a four-day jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge Valerie E. Caproni.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Salifou Conde was a key participant in a scheme to steal more than 2,400 rent supplement checks worth over $ 1.6 million to the HRA, an agency that provides critical assistance to New Yorkers in need of rental assistance. A Manhattan jury of his peers has found Conde guilty, and he now awaits sentencing for callously targeting a much-needed support system for low income New Yorkers.”
As reflected in the Indictment, public filings, and the evidence presented at trial:
HRA is an agency of the City of New York responsible for administering certain of the City’s public assistance programs. Among other things, HRA provides rental assistance to low income New Yorkers. For individuals who qualify, HRA provides rental assistance by sending monthly rent supplement checks to landlords or social services organizations that provide housing or residential treatment to cover a portion of the cost of documented expenses such as rent or storage costs.
During the period charged in the Indictment, HRA rent supplement checks that were undeliverable were sent back to the same P.O. Box at a United States post office in New York, New York. From there, couriers took the undeliverable checks from the post office and delivered the checks back to HRA. CONDE worked as one of the couriers and stole checks out of the mail.
Between approximately 2016 and 2019, CONDE and his co-conspirators were responsible for stealing a total of over 2,400 HRA rent supplement checks worth more than $1.6 million, and fraudulently depositing them into more than 40 bank accounts. CONDE was a key member of the scheme. He helped to steal undeliverable HRA rent supplement checks, deposit the checks into a network of bank accounts, and then quickly withdraw the stolen cash.
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CONDE, 31, of New Jersey, was convicted of one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison; one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, which carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Department of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Danielle Kudla, Elizabeth Espinosa, Nicholas Folly, and Kedar Bhatia are in charge of the prosecution.