Economic Development

Briya Pleads Guilty, Will Repay MS Consultants $200K

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Former MS Consultants chief financial officer Ray Briya pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to a five-count bill of information related to the ongoing corruption investigation of former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone and finance director David Bozanich.

The charges stem from the investigation into misuse of public funds by developer Dominic Marchionda of NYO Property Group. 

As part of his plea, entered before Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney, Briya agreed to pay $200,000 in restitution to his former employer, from which he allegedly stole money to bribe former Mayor Charles Sammarone and former city Finance Director David Bozanich.

The alleged bribery of Bozanich and Sammarone represented the first two counts of the five-count bill of information filed Aug. 29. Briya was also charged with tampering with evidence by providing false documents – allegedly with Marchionda – to the city of Youngstown to secure money from the city; stealing money from MS to bribe the named city officials; and obstructing justice by lying to the Mahoning County Grand Jury.

The prosecutor’s agreement with Briya provides that as long as Briya “testifies thoroughly and continues to cooperate truthfully” the state will not recommend prison time, Daniel Kasaris, special prosecuting attorney, told Sweeney this morning. “The state reserves the right to recommend any sentence” until after Briya has finished testifying, he added.

Briya was released without bond. He, Kasaris and Angelo Lonardo, Briya’s attorney, declined to comment to reporters following the hearing.

Marchionda and Bozanich are scheduled to go on trial June 1, 2020.

Sammarone is being tried separately with his trial slated to begin March 16, 2020.

Pictured: Ray Briya (left) with attorney Angelo Lonardo from the firm of Yelsky & Lonardo LLC.

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Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.