New Jersey Transit Employee Admits Extorting Money from Vendors
NEWARK, NJ—A New Jersey Transit employee admitted today to obtaining money from New Jersey Transit vendors to use his official authority and influence to help them get work with New Jersey Transit, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
William Talerico, 55, of Beachwood, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to an information charging one count of affecting commerce by extortion under color of official right. Talerico entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court.
According to documents in this case and statements made in court:
From at least around January 2006 to April 2012, Talerico served as a supervisor of stations responsible for overseeing the maintenance and custodial functions for certain New Jersey Transit facilities, including stations on New Jersey Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line and Northeast Corridor.
During this time period, Talerico agreed to accept and accepted corrupt payments in cash from numerous New Jersey Transit vendors. In exchange, Talerico agreed to, and did, exercise official authority and influence to assist the New Jersey Transit vendors with securing work from New Jersey Transit. In addition, Talerico acted as an intermediary through which corrupt payments were given to a New Jersey Transit supervisor. Talerico received more than $70,000, for himself and the supervisor, in corrupt payments of cash and other items of value from these New Jersey Transit vendors.
The extortion charge to which Talerico pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Talerico is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 6, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman thanked the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, under the direction of Acting Attorney General John Hoffman and Elie Honig, Director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, for their work in this investigation. U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; and the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, for their work in the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Luria and Maureen Nakly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Monahan, the Chief of the Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau, Division of Criminal Justice, in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Defense counsel: Peter R. Willis Esq., Jersey City, New Jersey