Consultant accused of faking New York restaurant ratings

Investigators have arrested a man who created forged "A" health grade cards. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Investigators have arrested a man who created forged “A” health grade cards. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A man who was hired to help restaurants appeal their letter grades from the city’s Health Department has been arrested for handing out forged “A” grades.

Anastasios Kountis, 32, was charged with forgery, tampering with public records, criminal possession of a forged instrument and other charges, according to the Department of Investigation. He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Kountis, the owner of Rapid Consulting Inc., was allegedly paid $150 by restaurants around the city who thought he would appeal their “B” or “C” health grades on their behalf.

Restaurants, such as Panini Grill in Staten Island and Telly’s Taverna in Queens, believed that Kountis had reduced their violations and earned them an “A” grade. Investigators determined, however, that he had simply photocopied “A” grade cards.

Kountis handed out a total of nine fake grade cards, according to the DOI’s report. None of the restaurant owners were aware that their grade cards were fraudulent, the report states.

In a separate investigation, two employees at Masala Junction restaurant in Manhattan were arrested for bribing an undercover investigator posing as a health inspector.

Dilbag Singh, 27, of Queens and Ahilia Narayan, 47, of New Jersey were each charged with bribery after they tried to hand the undercover investigator $100 to reduce their violations. They face up to 11 years in prison.

“These defendants did not understand the ABC’s of honesty.” DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said. “Using fraud and bribery to circumvent the City’s restaurant health code is not only criminal, it places the public at risk.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…

Style

Fall 2014 trend: lilac

Push those gray and black sweaters aside and make room for blush and lilac.

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…