NYC Housing Department Corruption Probe Widens

FBI agents recently arrested five more people in a widening probe of corruption allegations involving New York City government housing preservation officials. One city official and a former city employee were among those arrested on a variety of corruption charges.

The five will be arraigned in Brooklyn federal court. The most recent arrests mark the expansion of an ongoing probe by the FBI and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office's anti-corruption squad in Brooklyn into wrongdoing at New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Prosecutors have focused on allegations that city officials pocketed cash from real estate developers and builders seeking lucrative city contracts. Last year, the probe ensnared Wendell Walters, who had held a senior post at HPD, and has since pleaded guilty to bribery and racketeering charges.

Walters has admitted accepting $2.5 million in bribes from developers. He used some of the payoffs to help pay for his townhouse in Harlem's historic Striver's Row. Walters faces up to 30 years in prison, but could get much less time if his cooperation with the feds proves useful. Others charged last year during the first round of arrests stemming from the probe were a number of developers and two attorneys.