East Haven Zoning Official Charged with Extorting Resident
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that FRANK BIANCUR, JR., 40, of West Haven, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with seeking and receiving illegal payments while employed as a Zoning Enforcement Officer for the Town of East Haven.
According to the criminal complaint and to statements made in court, BIANCUR has been employed as the Town of East Haven’s Planning and Zoning Administrator/Zoning Enforcement Officer. Earlier this month, a resident of East Haven contacted the East Haven Police Department and the FBI with information that he/she had been extorted by BIANCUR since approximately October 2012 and, as a result, had made cash payments to BIANCUR.
The complaint alleges that, most recently, on May 19, 2015, BIANCUR called the victim and informed the victim that BIANCUR had to inspect an addition to the victim’s residence. Although BIANCUR stated that he was “fighting” for the victim, he also demanded a payment of $200 or he would make the victim tear down the addition. On May 21, 2015, the victim engaged in a consensually-recorded meeting with BIANCUR at BIANCUR’s office in East Haven Town Hall. During the meeting, the victim gave BIANCUR $200 in cash, which BIANCUR put in his pocket.
The complaint charges BIANCUR with one count of theft of honest services mail fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
BIANCUR was arrested this morning at his residence. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A.L. Merriam in New Haven and was released on a $20,000 bond.
Prior to his employment by the Town of East Haven, BIANCUR was employed by the City of West Haven and the City of Bridgeport.
Citizens with information that may be helpful to this ongoing investigation are encouraged to contact the FBI at (203) 777-6311.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force and the East Haven Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.
The Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Office of Inspector General and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General. Citizens can contact the Task Force to report corrupt activity by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).