YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A former local businessman pleaded guilty to charges in a Youngstown corruption case involving two former city leaders and a local developer.
Standing with his lawyer, one-time Valley businessman Ray Briya went before a judge Tuesday morning, admitting to his role in the public corruption case.
The 72-year-old former chief financial officer with the MS Consulting firm is charged with theft, tampering with records, obstructing justice and two counts of attempted bribery.
“Count one, dealing with David Bozanich, the former finance director for the City of Youngstown. Count two, dealing with Charles Sammarone for the former mayor of the City of Youngstown,” Atty. Dan Kasaris said.
Investigators say Briya tried to bribe Sammarone and Bozanich with stolen money from MS Consultants.
Prosecutors claim the two officials — who have also been indicted, along with local developer Dominic Marchionda — were given cash and gifts in exchange for business deals with the city. Briya is accused of stealing the money to pay for it all.
“Has to do with the fact that Mr. Briya took this money to bribe those two officials from his employer without the employer knowing about it,” Kasaris said.
Kasaris told the judge Briya’s other charges involve creating falsified invoices claiming the consulting firm did more than $100,000 worth of work on Marchionda projects. In reality, there was only $8,000 worth of work, Kasaris said.
“False documents that were provided to the City of Youngstown by Mr. Briya and Dominic Marchionda to secure money from the City of Youngstown.”
Briya is accused of lying to a Mahoning County grand jury about the false invoice.
As part of his plea, Briya paid $200,000 in restitution to his old employer Tuesday morning and is now expected to testify against the other defendants, who are all scheduled for trials next spring.
Briya will receive his sentence after the other defendants are tried in court.