EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 22, 2013

Former city IT director charged with fraud

Feds say he got Lawrence contracts for his friends

LAWRENCE — While in charge of the city's Information Technology Department, Bryan Cahoon conspired to steal thousands of dollars in federal grants intended to improve local government's technology systems, according to court documents.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has charged Cahoon, 53, of Dover, N.H., with a felony count of theft and fraud concerning programs receiving federal funds in a 17-page information that cited eight unnamed associates as "cooperating" witnesses. An "information'' takes the place of an indictment and is a formal accusation that a person committed a crime.

Cahoon, who worked more than four years for the city's IT Department as an employee and later a consultant, obtained more than $10,000 fraudulently during a period from early 2008 until late 2009, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Bloomer said. During that period, Cahoon "subverted" state bidding laws and caused at least eight contracts with the city totaling $193,460 "to be awarded to his friends and associates," according to the records filed this week in federal court.

The records do not specify the total amount of federal money that Cahoon allegedly obtained through fraud, but the records note his "scheme to steal" targeted federal programs involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Neither Cahoon nor Andover attorney James Krasnoo, who is listed as his defense lawyer in the case, could be reached for comment last night.

The alleged fraud, which is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation, occurred during administration of former Mayor Michael Sullivan.

Cahoon resigned abruptly from his $165,000-a-year consulting job with the city within weeks of Mayor William Lantigua's inauguration on Jan. 4, 2010. Cahoon had made $81,900 a year as director of information services for the city before resigning and returning as a consultant, a move that allowed him to more than double his pay.

Shortly after Lantigua was sworn in as mayor, his administration suspected billing irregularities and questionable practices involving city computers and contractors. Several IT employees were fired as part of a major shakeup of the IT Department.

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