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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
December 15, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Former Old Bridge Official Pleads Guilty to Using Government Position
to Obtain Personal Benefit

State Grand Jury Indictment Charged Director of Community Development
with Receiving $3,800
From Local Developer to Pay for Residential Landscaping

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the former Director of Community Development and Township Engineer for Old Bridge Township, Middlesex County, today pleaded guilty to charges that he received $3,800 in financial favors from a developer doing business with the Township.

According to Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy, John P. Vincenti, 43, Tall Oaks Drive, Brick, Ocean County, pleaded guilty before Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Fred DeVesa to a third degree charge of gifts to public servant. Vincenti faces up to five years in state prison, a fine of up to $15,000, permanent debarment from public service, and loss of government position when sentenced on Feb. 24.

Director McKoy noted that Vincenti was charged via a State Grand Jury indictment returned on Jan. 12, 2005. The indictment resulted from an ongoing investigation focusing on allegations of bribery and corruption related to the Old Bridge Township engineering and code department. The investigation, conducted by state investigators assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice - Antitrust & Procurement Fraud Unit, is targeting additional allegations that public employees have solicited money or favors from developers, contractors, and others doing business in the Township in exchange for expedited and/or favorable service and rulings on applications, permits and inspections. The investigation uncovered no evidence that the alleged illegal activities allowed for unsafe or under-code construction.

The indictment charged that from May through August, 2003, Vincenti solicited and received $3,800 which was used to pay for landscaping services at his Ocean County residence. The landscaping services were paid by a representative of Atlantic Realty, an Old Bridge developer which manages various Old Bridge Township-area developments, including Matchaponix Hills, Matchaponix Estates (Rocky Creek), and Presidential Estates.

As Director of Community Development/Township Engineer since 2002, Vincenti supervised the Township engineering, planning and code enforcement divisions. Vincenti was also responsible for overseeing the permitting functions of the department, including fee assessment and collection, applications and plan review, permit issuance, inspection and occupancy.

“This type of corruption - the shaking-down of contractors and developers for cash and services - raises the cost of local development by increasing the costs of construction,” said Director McKoy. “The Antitrust Procurement Fraud Unit targets fraud and corruption related to the procurement process by working with, and providing information to, New Jersey municipal officials so they can identify and report procurement fraud.”

Deputy Director and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rossner and Deputy Attorney General Steven Zweig coordinated the investigation. Supervising State Investigator Kim Karasiewicz and State Investigators Susan Marshall and Kimberly Allen of the Antitrust Procurement Fraud Unit conducted the investigation. Additionally, the Division of Criminal Justice investigation was assisted by the administration of Old Bridge Mayor James T. Phillips, the Old Bridge Township Council, and the Office of Township Attorney. The investigation tracked the 2003 report compiled by the State Commission of Investigation which detailed allegations of corruption and favors in the county and municipal home inspection process.

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