Essex County Corrections Officer Admits Accepting Cash Bribes in Exchange for Smuggling Contraband Into the Essex County Jail
NEWARK, NJ—An Essex County corrections officer today admitted accepting bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband, including cell phones and tobacco, into the Essex County Jail, a federal pretrial detention facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
John Grosso, 41, of Belleville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Grosso, a corrections officer at the Essex County Jail, admitted that in December 2013, he agreed to accept cash bribes in return for his assistance smuggling cell phones and cigarettes to an inmate. Grosso met with the inmate’s relative in Secaucus, New Jersey, to accept the contraband and bribe before delivering the items to the inmate.
The conspiracy charge to which Grosso pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Grosso also must forfeit the $1,000 bribe he received in December 2013. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 19, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark, and the Internal Affairs Division of Essex County Correctional Facility, under the leadership of Warden Roy Hendricks, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division and Robert L. Frazer of the Criminal Division, Organized Crime/Gangs Unit, in Newark.
Defense counsel: Elizabeth H. Smith Esq., Mendham, New Jersey